Tuesday, April 12, 2011



I recently received a note from a colleague in Ireland who promoted the concept of meitheal (cooperative learning) for use in higher education. Having proven its worth through steadily improved student satisfaction and performance, the professor challenged competitive models introduced by corporate benefactors attempting to impose their will on the university. While he has had setbacks due to the onslaught of globalization, he clearly demonstrated that when creating community is a core value, the resulting synergy fosters resilience.

Cultivating creativity, communication and cooperation, while an ancient Irish tradition, is thus applicable to the modern world in fundamental ways. Celebrating the genius of the group, whether indigenous or not, is a means of motivating and inspiring young people at a time when corruption and other destructive values threaten our very existence. Providing learning environments where cooperation is core gives them something to hold on to.

In the face of accelerating change due to globalization, meitheal functions as an adaptive self-organizing organism. If we build it, they will come.


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