The Landscapes for Learning Mission
My mission is to promote an intrinsic love for learning for personal wellbeing using a humanities curriculum specifically designed for teenagers to cope with present and future challenges and accelerated change of 21st century life.
Love for Learning “Beyond” Schooling
The cultivation of balance and inner wisdom is not the priority within our educational institutions, mostly due to the prohibitive structure of formal schooling– the culture of competition and comparison inherent in the grading system, and the “race to the top” mindset to achieve and create one’s future career. An intrinsically motivated love for learning as a mindset and lifestyle and explicit instruction for inner learning is needed now more than ever to preserve our individual and shared humanity. Practices in self-awareness and self-realization enable individuals to face fear and discomfort; manage anxiety and stress; and travel beyond one’s comfort zone to transform and grow. Developing strength, flexibility, open-mindedness and humility are imperative for thriving in an ever-changing, ever-more technological and data-saturated world.
Learning to travel one’s inner landscape is foundational for empowering people to put the business of schooling in its proper place, where it belongs, and approach the important process of academic learning from a place of love rather than fear, with a healthier and more balanced perspective. Landscapes for Learning can help you in your quest for a meaningful life within the confines of school and beyond schooling by teaching you how to change your mindset:
from competition to compassion;
from comparison to acceptance, unconditional self-love, and authenticity;
from obsessive future-thinking to present moment awareness and gratitude
from focus on external landscapes to inner landscapes for learning
from ego-centered to life to soul-centered.*
Happiness, good health, equanimity, and balance will be some of the amazing results from your own attention and hard work traveling the landscapes for learning.
My name is Maureen Bakis. I am a mom of four, yoga instructor, former high school humanities teacher and author turned podcaster, blogger, and online educator and coach.
“It’s Not About the Grades: Landscapes for Learning Beyond Schooling”
I quit my job as a school teacher after fourteen years so that I could teach young people to actualize in ways that promote their personal wholeness, health, and wellness. As important as it is to gain knowledge and academic skills, intellectual and academic development is only one part of the story of being human and flourishing as a unique individual. A person’s humanity– their value or worth– is not only about intelligence or achievement or career success, but many teenagers mistakenly measure their worth according to their GPA and the values they’ve been conditioned by in school. Also, the type of learning that happens in school is narrow because of its limited structures and grading system. I’d like kids to know that not only should they leverage schooling as one part of their overall education, they should also learn far beyond schooling as well as study their own inner world which is an endless source of wisdom they’ll need now and in the future for their health and wellbeing.
Expanding my classroom beyond the brick and mortar structure of schooling enables me to share a real-world, relevant humanities curriculum with the wider world of students without concern for grades and the restrictions of having to focus on only learning that is measurable. I think there are important life skills and character development that young people need to practice independently, through trial and error to help them flourish and stay healthy in mind, body and spirit, so my hope is that Landscapes for Learning can meet the need for more ungraded forms of personal humanities learning for students that schools and parents cannot.
“Landscapes FOR learning“ is a mindset and foundational principle for living well. To approach life with the attitude of a learner: assertive, curious, open, responsible, and courageous enables an individual to live life with grateful appreciation rather than victim-mentality and to value life as a gift rather than see it as a curse. Experiences on the landscapes of life happen for us rather than to us so we can learn, grow, and be fully alive. We must prepare ourselves through practice to be willing, vulnerable, and open-minded in every experience we encounter on our travels through life.
To mindfully observe, know, and care for oneself from the inside out and respond to life’s experiences as opportunities for learning is each person’s individual responsibility, an authentic trial and error process that’s incredibly empowering yet challenging and often painful. The joy and growth is in the struggle and more trust and faith in oneself will be the result. The Landscapes for Learning mission is to give you tools and practices that will help you respond to life rather than to react to it, and through the process of facing one’s limitations, fear, and accepting suffering, rather than running from it, you will know yourself better than anyone else! You’ll live from a place of truth and love rather than fear and inauthenticity. You will learn how to find your truth, live with integrity, and be a learner for life!
Inner and Outer Landscapes
The inner landscape is our basic essential nature, including our personality, disposition, and the inner workings of our body and mind; it’s what’s in our personal, internal control. We need explicit instruction about this place where our true, essential self lives and how to manage it. We need to travel the inner landscapes more often and more mindfully to become the expert on our selves so we can care for ourselves appropriately, be our own best friend, doctor, coach, parent. This is our responsibility that comes with being human. Rather than look for mentors to over-rely on or compare ourselves to, we can become the hero of our own lives through focused attention on our own direct experience.
The external landscape is the social world outside the individual self, including the influences of one’s environment, culture, and its values, norms, and conventions. The external landscape dominates our attention and is a place of competition and comparison that often leaves us feeling unfulfilled and disconnected from our true nature. The external world shapes us to the degree we agree and allow it to, whether consciously or unconsciously. We can buy what it sells us, internalize its values, or take responsibility for choosing how to define and feed ourselves according to what we know is best for us.
These landscapes of our lives both internally and externally contain a myriad of opportunities for learning, “teachable moments,” from which individuals can continually discover their limits and potential, who one is today, in each moment, and who one could possibly become in the future. Knowing what’s best for oneself comes from a keen understanding of who one is from having traveled the inner landscapes and it is the foundation for traveling in the external world.
LFL exists to give you insight, resources, and tools to guide you as you build, through mindful practice, the character and courage required to travel the landscapes of your life successfully.
Products & Services
LFL provides motivational speeches to improve school culture, teacher culture within an organization, and share the Landscapes for Learning mindset with all stakeholders. Events for large groups, including, but not limited to, parents, students, school leaders, athletic coaches, teachers and school counsellors are available. My purpose is to inspire individuals to enthusiastically and intelligently engage in the process of self-realization to self-actualize– that is, to learn the tools for traveling their inner landscape as well as how and why to remain open to all the learning available on the landscapes in school and beyond schooling.
“Personal professional development that doesn’t suck”
LFL provides professional development for K-12 teachers to help teachers understand how their own rigorous self-inquiry, introspection, and understanding of their own humanity can improve their personal lives and careers. Teachers will learn the importance and value of their own authenticity, to focus more often on the “who” of teaching (Parker Palmer), and to develop habits of self-care and self-compassion. Learning how to be present and healthy in order to be their best selves is the most important way to positively affect students , teacher culture and school culture.
Because of their own personal growth and wellness, teachers can better learn how to navigate the complex dynamic of schooling, fully realize their important role as educators, and improve at managing professional and personal demands including the intellectual, emotional, psychological, and spiritual. Teachers will learn, by tapping into their individual strengths and weaknesses, how to implement more authentic forms of learning in their teaching roles in a way that maintains their personal integrity and also fosters authentic forms of learning in students.
This professional development program is not about effective teaching methods, techniques for classroom management or delivering content; it is about teachers as individual human beings, their personal growth, self-care, and individual fulfilment. The programs are designed for any teacher, new or seasoned, interested in avoiding burnout and disillusionment, or gaining clarity of purpose to make their own teaching lives more meaningful and enjoyable for themselves, their colleagues, and their students.
This is professional development that doesn’t suck where you’ll be able to build a better relationship with yourself, improve your role as teacher, as well as connect with fellow educators in a more heart-centered way. I hope you will feel “heard,” valued, and understood as the most important part of the successful development of the future of our shared humanity. Training in my unique wisdom curriculum for students is also available to easily implement within the classroom environment. *Personal coaching and consulting sessions are also available for educators.
“Promoting a love for learning one ordinary story at a time”
The Landscapes for Learning podcast is curricula focused on educating people about authentic forms of learning that exist everywhere outside of the formal academic realm to promote love for learning and embrace it as a lifestyle on the road to individual self-realization and self-actualization.
LFL interviews ordinary people who embrace various kinds of authentic learning in their lives, with a special focus on traveling inner landscapes. My hope is that these stories will inspire and/or fill a gap for many young people who may not be exposed to great stories of real people who might serve as positive examples of authentic learning and models of living life from the inside-out. Guests discuss their road to self-realization and the tools and techniques of learning they use to fulfill their life purpose.
LFL publishes a variety of solo podcasts on various subject matter related to life, learning, schooling, character development, and the principles of yoga that are foundational to the LFL wisdom curriculum. I share my personal reflections, observations, and experiences, as well as share the work and ideas of other thinkers, writers, and podcasters, and offer helpful tips and insights about how to embrace authentic learning and make learning a lifestyle, as well as how to successfully help young people navigate the world of schooling and beyond. I also share resources about positive, life-affirming values, self-inquiry, and my own process of self-realization and self-actualization.
Improving School Culture: Implementing the Landscapes
(Online curriculum, Consulting, On-site Events)
Teacher Workshops & Coaching
(online, 1:1, on campus)
Student Writing for Self-Realization Workshops
(Udemy Online Courses for Teens)
Please feel free to contact me by using the form below and to subscribe to the site!
*from Bill Plotkin’s Nature & Soul