Friday, December 11, 2009


I attended a lecture by David Kahn this past Monday. He was brought in by a group of parents that are interested in starting a Montessori High School in the Toronto area. The school intends to follow the farm model, much like those in Cleveland and Sydney.

I love David's concept of flow; meaning that state of being where time slips by un-noticed and we feel that we are in our element. David believes that it occurs when challenges meet skills. School's therefore should be "Flow Machines"; environments where flow is naturally occurring - I agree.

He claims that the farm is an ideal setting for adolescents, one in which challenges are present and flow can be fostered. Sorry David this is where you've lost me - I worked for 3 weeks on a farm when I was 19 and no flow was created. I was hired for $4 / hour (2 of which was subsidized by the government). The farmer hired me and another chap for a grand to total of $32 per day - and after the first week my friend was fired (lack of productivity) and I was alone in the sun drenched fields hoeing cabbage. The second week the farmer imported 3 Jamaican workers who apparently would work for less than $16/ day and I knew my days were numbered. My favourite part of the experience was bringing my three new Caribbean friends to the electronics store to buy portable stereos - we then brought one out to the field and I must say listening to Bob Marley in the Cabbage fields and singing tunes was as close to flow as I ever achieved.

Soon, the allure of the golf course was too great and my career in the agricultural sector came to a close. I imagine David would tell me "Jack - it's not about the farm, it's about having a self contained natural environment where adolescents can experience real work and apply all of their, mathematics, economics, poetry, art...." there a driving range?


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