excerpt from Life-Enriching Education, by Marshall Rosenberg (Published by PuddleDancer Press 2003)
I would like to educate this and future generations of children to be able to create new organizations whose goal is to meet human needs—to make life more wonderful for themselves and each other. I call the process of education that can achieve this, Life-Enriching Education.
The students coming out of an educational program that I envision would learn to value their autonomy and interdependence, and would have learned the organizational skills necessary to create Life-Enriching systems in which to live their lives.
What you would observe in such schools:
• teachers and students working together as partners, setting objectives mutually and consensually.
• teachers and students speaking a process language. The one I teach is called Nonviolent Communication, which focuses attention on: 1) the feelings and needs motivating each person and 2) what actions might best meet their needs—at no one else’s expense.
• students motivated by their eagerness to learn and not by ear of punishment or promise of reward.
• tests given at the beginning of the course of study to determine need, not at the end to determine reward or punishment. Grades replaced with evaluations of student learning that describe what they had learned—what skills and knowledge they had mastered.
• an interdependent learning community designed to encourage students to care about one another and help one another learn rather than competing for a limited number of rewards—a community where the common goal is to support all students in reaching their objectives.
• all rules and regulations being created consensually by the people who are affected by the rules—students, teachers, parents and administrators. Force only being used to protect needs such as health and safety, but never with the intent to punish.
Changing the System
So what I am advocating is not just a new curriculum, a different daily schedule, an adjustment in classroom arrangement, or some innovative teaching techniques. Many individual among you have tried the ideas I will suggest in this book, and collectively we have tried all of them. What I am urging is a shift in values, a change in the entire underlying system, something as radical as that.
You can purchase copies of Life-Enriching Education, by Marshall Rosenberg as well as Sura Hart’s two books about NVC in education, The Compassionate Classroom and The No-Fault Classroom at: