The Happy Pear Podcast


John Stewart on Living Schools

Season 3, Ep. 7

This week we are delighted to give you the brilliant John Stewart.

John is a sought-after speaker, author and educator, with over 25 years of international experience. He was the Head of Green School Bali (Voted The World’s Greenest School) and literally wrote the book on ‘Thriving at School'! 

Having won numerous awards within the educational world, John recently took on the biggest undertaking of all by becoming the conductor of Living School Lismor, where he literally repurposed his own house, ripping and exposing walls in order to create a school that redefines all norms. Here, the main goal is creating a love for learning, where the community school focuses on personal and academic exploration for both student and teacher alike.

John strips back the many layers of our global schooling system, where attention is no longer on the enthusiasm for learning and draws parallels to the western prison system with its high walls, regimented structures, and disciplinary systems.

“A lot of schools build themselves around campuses, so then they have stranger danger issues so the put fences, and then they want to make sure there’s a quality educational offering, so they have these teachers who are credited, they have to be professionally developed - all sitting inside these schools. So when you mirror a school and a jail, people actually can’t see the difference.”

We could have spent hours, days, months, years talking to John! Community being such an integral part of our ethos, John really spoke to our hearts when breaking down how essential a school is for a thriving community - it really is at the epicenter.

“This takes us back to the definition of a school, it isn’t about getting a career, getting the best mark you can to get into university or a pathway so that you can make heaps of money. That’s a bit selfish and it’s a bit naive. Schools are meant to improve community… Communities have kind of dispersed, we get communities in cafes, at sporting events, we used to have them in churches (and some people still do)… but where do you have all these different views streaming in to be connected - at school.”

From John’s vibrant past and international experience to ripping apart his own home in order to create his dream school, we nearly covered it all.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we do and get in touch if you like us, get inspired to build your own community school!

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