To Infinity, and Beyond

Revisiting the details of the moon landing over the past few weeks has been fascinating for many of us, it’s a story that continues to grab our imaginations. The anniversary has passed but the bravery, effort and focus of those involved continues to resonate.

Admittedly there are aspects of that story and history which do not inspire admiration, not least of which was the structural lack of opportunities for minorities and women. But to face the unknown and to walk on the moon — wow. And yet, we can hear you asking, why include a reference to that event in a folk school newsletter? The success of the moon landing had much to do with curiosity – what was out there and what would it take to get answers? Developing a plan and achieving the landing involved research and experimentation. Those concepts, of curiosity, life-long learning and experimentation, are all components of hands-on learning at a folk school!

Photo credit: Apollo 11 Archive/NASA

 We love seeing a folk school class develop from a group of strangers looking for help and advice from the instructor, to a group of connected learners sharing knowledge and experimenting together. People arrive at class thinking they are there to get a ‘download’ from the instructor, but they discover that what brings them joy is the process of learning together, of trying and perhaps failing, but then trying again, in the company of others who are on that same journey. We think curiosity, interest in learning, no matter what your age, and the process of learning from failures and trying again, are characteristics that are shared by rocket scientists and folk school participants. Putting a person on the moon, or a learning a traditional skill – maybe not as different as it first appears. Have a sip of some Tang and a bit of blue cheese on a cracker, and we think you’ll agree.