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Lisa Anne Lindberg

- Dharma -

Lisa Lindberg

My Dharmic Path
- - the work I feel I am supposed to be contributing in this life :
helping transform what people think it is all about being alive here together on this Planet  

In the 1960's growing up in Delaware County, Ohio, I participated in our county's public education system and did well academically. However, when I was a 16-year-old in high school in 1968, there began to emerge in my conscious awareness something I had been feeling deep in my bones for many years : something was extremely amiss with how learning opportunities were being offered to me and my young peers. "There's got to be a better way to do it than this," I kept thinking to myself. From that time on, I have continually envisioned approaches to learning which are in accord with how human beings actually learn, with what human potential actually is.

The awareness of these educational shortcomings was one of the revelations to myself that I was a heat-seeker - - and definitely
not a comfort-seeker. Not "heat" in the sense of thrills and action, but rather in the sense of looking for the underlying (often unexpressed, subconscious) conceptual assumptions about life which form the foundation for people's paradigms and worldviews. The process of turning over rocks to find the inner workings of things, and then closely examining these assumptions and evaluating their validity can indeed - - as I have amply discovered - - elicit heat.

I have been especially interested in how these unexpressed assumptions become embedded into the building of learning structures - - both physical and psychological. In general, what I find is quite dismaying.


Study and Work Experience

In a variety of avenues and settings, I have done a life-long exploration of learning and development. Here are some of them, in reverse order as they happened in my life.

Current Envisionings

In 1999, after 10 years directing a course in independent learning (family-arranged schooling) for our son Matthew, he flew the nest and went off to college. Interest in independent learning is seeing significant growth - - both in my own local geographic area and also nationwide. I found I wanted to continue working in some way on this approach to learning - - to help further its development.

I decided my first step would be to write - - to take my nearly 4 decades' worth of gestating ideas and experience, and coalesce them into a proposal entitled Communities of Learning. It is about how we can humanize education and transform it to be more in accord with what human life and human potential actually are.

I am also very interested in telling the personal stories of young people -- honoring, and affirming their inner experiences, what they feel inside themselves as they passionately follow their hearts in their freely chosen projects and activities, fully engaged, living life to the hilt. This is an in-progress work entitled
Finding Their Wings which I envision as a geographic-based series.

1979 - Present. Consultant, Design of Independent-Learning Curricula and Physical Environments. For more than two decades have given slide-illustrated presentations and program consultation on the role of the physical environment in children's learning and development. To architects, university architecture students and professors, elementary and preschool administrative and teaching staff, community planning groups, parents, and young people.

At a recent presentation at an education conference, a woman sitting in the front row in the audience beamed at me throughout my entire presentation -- a quite nice occurrance at times like those. To put the icing on the cake, afterwards, she came up to me and told me she detected a fire inside of me. She said it was not the kind of fire that destroys, but rather the kind that creates the new ideas this world needs.

1980's and 1990's.
These two decades our son Matthew spent his early formative life with Duncan and me. In those years, I used Matthew and his friends the guinea pig for my ideas on growth and development.

1989-1999. In the last decade of Matthew's being with us, our method of organizing his education was independent learning. This is often called "homeschooling," however, our family interpreted it as "home-arranged schooling." I played the role of being his Resource Guide - - assisting him in searching for, evaluating, and choosing learning opportunities among both formally held classes and independent work in social studies, the sciences, the arts, and in mentored opportunities. Then helping him connect with people with whom he would enjoy working. For more of the story, see Lindberg-Work Family's Program of Independent Learning.

1986-88. Coordinator,
Environmental Education Field Trip Program, Maharishi Children's School,
Washington, DC, a private, early childhood and elementary school. This involved conceiving and developing the program, as well as planning, arranging, and leading 150 expeditions of 4-8 year olds in those two years. Click on the link for a complete description and illustrations.

1978-1982. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning : Honors upper level and graduate work in design theory, environmental psychology, community development, environment-behavior studies, urban design, urban geography, and the development of urban settlements. Left because I couldn't simultaneously be there and be a good parent to our newborn son. Some of my professors there were Amos Rappaport, Bob Beckley, Harry Van Oudenallen, Lani van Ryzin, Gary Moore, Uriel Cohen, Tim McGinty. GPA: 3.6 on a 4-point scale.

 1978-1981. Children's Environments Project , Architecture and Urban Planning Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's School of Architecture and Urban Planning. A multi-award-winning team of architects and social scientists applying both theoretical and empirical research on human development to designing environments for children and families. We used the pattern-language approach as our overall modus operendi. Among the awards this work received were two years in a row in the category of Applied Research in Progressive Architecture Magazine's annual design competition, 1979 and 1980.

Little did I know when I first read in the UW-M paper about this interesting-sounding project, that this Architecture School had one of the world's hotbeds of environment-behavior studies. I started out as the project's typist, where the people on this project soon very graciously offered me one of the project's Graduate Research Assistantship, so I got to move up to research and writing. In addition, I began giving slide presentations on our work to community groups both locally and in other states. As a member of this Architecture School, I was welcomed to attend all class lectures, exhibitions, critiques of student work, as well as special presentations. In addition, the professors invited me to take any graduate and undergraduate course that interested me. I had free rein and assistance in using the extensive facilities in the library of books and images, the photo lab, the wood shop, and the metal shop. My experience as a member of this community of people and their facilities has played a large role in my envisioning what would go on in a Community Learning Center.

1975-1976. Milwaukee Public Schools, Substitute Instructional Aide, Inner-city, All-Day Kindergarten Program for 4-Year Olds. In working in this position in a handful of schools, I had many horrendously dismaying experiences, never knowing what I would be in for at the next location. And then one day I went to a school to which I had never before been sent. To our mutual horror that morning, there also arrived the substitute head teacher. But we were both good sports about it, and together determined to do the best we could under the circumstances. However, an hour later, after working separately with the kids in various parts of the room, she and I met up with each other again and re-conferred. We jointly concluded that neither of us was necessary in that classroom of 25 little 4-year-olds ; they were all working happily on their own self-chosen activities, completely fulfilled, and with the excellent behavior and delightful quiet hum that accompanies these dynamics. "Who IS this teacher ? ? ! !" we asked each other, both of us incredulous at the phenomenon we were witnessing. It turns out it was a young black man named Janell Sharp. I unfortunately didn't realize fully at the time what a potential gold mine of a mentor he could have been for me, and so I never even met him. SO JANELL, IF YOU ARE STILL OUT THERE SOMEWHERE AND FIND OUT ABOUT ME AND THIS WEBSITE, PLEASE GET IN TOUCH WITH ME ! ! ! I NEED TO TALK TO YOU ! ! !

1965. National Head Start Program's Debut summer, Instructional Aide, Columbus Ohio Public Schools.
On an Ohio State University team where my mother was a student in OSU's Early Childhood Development Program working as an Instructor in this program. As a 13-year old, I got to professionally work with her - - a master in the art of teaching.

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