the learning contract

Sorry for the bombardment of text-heavy posts today - pictures will come soon, I promise.

For the Ridge to Reef (R2R) program, we each have to write a learning contract. Because the program doesn't use a grading system, we need another way to be accountable for what we do and don't accomplish during the term. The way VISFI keeps us accountable is through these learning contracts. The great thing about them is that we write them. I come up with my own goals. I decide how far I want to push myself and how much I want to learn. Midway through, and at the end of the term, we will go back through the contract with our adviser and see how well we are sticking to it. Tomorrow, my contract will be signed by my adviser, Dan Glenn, and myself.

My Learning Contract:

During my time studying at VISFI, I will reach the following goals. Also, where applicable, I will continue to aim for these goals after leaving the farm:

I will pursue knowledge to the fullest of my ability. I will seek out those who can teach me, and I will ask questions and do outside reading to obtain it. This pursuit will give me a fuller understanding of my focus area of study as well as any other area of study or farm activity. I will not turn down an opportunity to learn something new.
- trapping & skinning mongoose-dem
- helping with meals
- greeting visitors
- building a fire using a bow drill
- etc.
I will understand what I learn. I will learn the jargon and other technical terms that correspond to my areas of interest. To gain this understanding, I will ask questions and do any necessary outside reading. I will learn to teach to learn.

I will communicate with those around me. I will make sure that my fellow students know some of the things I am learning about, and I will be interested in their focus area endeavors. I will be a part of this community and take part in farm activities whenever possible. I will also communicate with family and friends off the farm using a blog that will give insight to my life on the farm and detail my study and creation of solar energy systems.

I will take advantage of my mornings. I will stretch, focus, meditate and pray to awaken myself in a way that positively prepares me for the day.

I will aim for high-quality work. I will use appropriate technology and supplies for the project at-hand. I will know that whatever I build, plant, and install will last as long as possible and will fulfill its purpose even after I leave the farm.

I will design, build, and install a working solar system for long-term use on the VISFI campus with my partner, Patrick. We will observe the specified site and the needs and wishes of our client, and create a system that meets those needs.

I will attend 100% of scheduled classes.

I will continue to use knowledge gained here after I leave. I will continue to seek out knowledge during my life off the farm and use it in ways that are beneficial - whether it be to feed my family or to feed thousands in Africa. I will take advantage of my knowledge and give it to others.

signed _____Benjamin Rucker____1/29/08_____

1 comment:

Will Rucker said...

i meant to comment on this a while back. i just wanted to say....it's pretty overwhelming reading this. i feel like i would be just as scared to make these goals with myself as i would be to say my wedding vows. i feel like i'm fairly inconsistent and i'm hardly ever able to meet my goals and so then i just become cynical about making goals.

but i have learned a lot from making goals. it is extremely hard to meet them, but if you set goals for yourself with as much desperation as you are revealing in this post, then you're on a really great start. i'll be praying for you ben.

much love, will