From Fantasy to reality
The fables have provided a platform for your students to begin to look at the world around them as one full of infinite possibility. Your students will soon realize how much better they could do things if they were in the driver's seat! With the application of the ZERI learning system, the stage is set for an ongoing series of learning processes. The fables are aimed at children between the ages of five and eight, though there really is no upper limit (many adults are inspired and stimulated by these short, revealing stories!). After the fables, students can then move to the second stage of the initiative, “From Fantasy to Reality.” This stage is usually aimed at children of ages nine to twelve.
As students move forward, beyond the fables, they can begin to apply the systems perspective that they have developed to the assessment of real world problems. The ZERI system thus encourages further inquiry and learning, and it is likely that your students will be eager for this deeper, more specific focus. Because the ZERI fables present realities based on science, your students no longer have to walk away from their dreams at age eight or nine - their dreams can continue, and can open the door to their capacity to make a positive difference in the world around them.
As a teacher, it is possible to help guide your students to the next step after the fables. They key here is not rote memorization, but learning that is based on process, integration, imagination, context, emotion, and teamwork. It is important to help your students to connect with the reality around you, be it your school, your community, or perhaps via the ZERI projects on the Internet. The approach of the ZERI system is positive, it is driven by a “yes can do” mentality.
As your students can now learn science without being bogged down by jargon, science will become an integral part of their evolving dream for the future. Lessons learned from the five kingdoms of nature (and their ecosystems) will inspire them, and will determine the parameters of their design ideas. Their active, creative imaginations can continue to grow unhindered by limitations - their wild fantasies are based firmly in the science of the real world.
Some of the projects that ZERI has developed around the world can become part of your curriculum. Shown below is a ZERI flowchart for growing coffee in Colombia. This simple system can respond to all of the coffee farmers´ needs. This is a good examples of an open system, and shows how, if we widen our perspective, we can find new solutions for the problems that exist today.
Other such systems - manufacturing and agricultural - have been tested and implemented in Brazil, Fiji, Germany, Japan, Sweden, and Zimbabwe. The cultural and geographic diversity of these environmentally, economically, and socially beneficial projects will add a richness to the learning that takes place in your classroom. Exploring systems like these that have been inspired by nature, and rely only on locally available resources, will help your students to ground their learning in real-world examples, and will also excite them as they see that they are not alone in dreaming of a better future. Encourage your students to find other examples of this around the world, or to start to think creatively about how they can create similar projects in your schools!
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