“… practice is in fact continuously and already doing and practising educational theories whether we are aware of it or not. We are already speaking and performing theories and ideas into existence of practice, along lines of thinking that are sometimes also contradictory or counterproductive.” Hilevi Lens Taguchi
There is no educational practice without theory. If we are unaware of the theories we are working with it doesn’t mean we don't have theories, it simply means we are applying theories we have uncritically absorbed from the social and cultural soup we swim in.
In some cases, this may be fine. In others, the unconsidered application of dominant ‘common sense’ ideas can be deeply problematic. The issue is that the ideas which dominate are not necessarily good, true, useful or coherent, and 'common sense' is often not particularly sensible.
Whether consciously or unconsciously all schools are practical expressions of answers to deep and complex questions: What is the nature of existence? What is the diagnosis of our time? What is knowledge? How do humans learn? How do we facilitate learning? Who are children? What is the purpose of education?
While these questions and others like them will never have definitive answers, some answers are certainly more valid than others. From our perspective, a minimum responsibility for any setting which aims to take a significant role in the education of young people is to be aware of its answers, transparent about them, and ready to justify the positions it has taken.
Banana Mountain is committed to acting consciously, responsibly and transparently. To this end, in these pages, you will find succinct expressions of some of our most important ideas; our core principles and some of their practical implications, our thoughts about young people and the world we share with them, and some of our most important sources of pedagogical inspiration and what we draw from them.
These ideas are not reactions against what we don't want, but carefully considered expressions of what we do. They are based on rigorous empirical research, highly regarded theory, long-standing pedagogical traditions, and our own experiences and ideas. At present they are still relatively uncommon but this is changing fast. We are very proud to be part of the rapidly growing movement working to enable all young people and communities access to liberating, Co-Created Education.