Learning should be fun, a Childs' curiosity must be nurtured, and students need to feel connected.
Beyond the Walls Education (BWE) was founded on these simple but crucial concepts along with the belief that the majority of our learning comes from life itself. Understanding the role that formal education plays in our learning process, BWE is dedicated to helping schools and their students make the most out of their learning.
The past year with COVID 19 restrictions, quarantines, and Distance Learning, has put a spotlight on the huge challenge of meeting the needs of all students, teachers, and our greater communities. There has also been a renewed call to come to terms with centuries of systemic racisms. We have seen our democratic institutions stressed to levels never experienced in modern times. All of of these have had a huge impact on our education system putting further stress on our students and already scarce resources.
Recognizing these challenges, BWE works in a variety of ways to help all students become contributing citizens and life long learners. Working with schools to proactively plan for the future we offer comprehensive Strategic Planning. We help teachers create active, experience based curriculum that incorporates civics and social justice, engages students and keeps them at the center of their learning. We work with students to create well developed plans that guide them towards their education and career goals through a blend of focused formal study and experiential learning. BWE offers schools a chance to exchange with an urban or rural counterpart thus gaining a better understanding of differences and similarities between the two. Finally, through the Kiribati Project BWE provides a cultural insight into the effects of climate change on indigenous people.
Chris Brown is the founder and primary consultant with Beyond the Walls Education. He works with a network of highly experienced and respected educators who have vast experience and come from a wide array of disciplines and expertise.
As an educator (teacher, administrator and college faculty member at Augsburg University) for over 35 years, Chris has a wide variety of experience working with students, developing curriculum, helping schools plan for the future, and helping create new and innovative programs. With a background in history and social studies education, he has taught in public schools (both district and charter), a private high school, the Peace Corps in the Central Pacific Island of Kiribati, and schools in Thailand and Australia. He has been a founding member of three schools in Minnesota and developed education programs for several non-profits. He received his BS from Bemidji State University, MS Ed. from Sydney University, Sydney Australia, ESL certification from the University of the South Pacific, Suva Fiji and has advanced coursework in International Experiential Education at the University of Minnesota. He was also a Bush Leadership Scholar.
Chris was a faculty member for many years at Augsburg University in the Education Department teaching and advising future teachers. Along with teaching a variety of education courses he also supervised over 100 Student Teachers, advised more than 400 undergraduate and graduate students, and led a variety of experiential learning programs including the education departments field experience program. He also developed and managed the Charter School Authorizer program. He was the first authorizer representative on the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools board. Throughout his career he has worked with students from many different backgrounds including newly arrived immigrant and refugee communities.
He has a love for the outdoors and spends time camping, canoeing, hiking, and exploring with his family. He has traveled extensively, both nationally and internationally, and enjoys getting lost in unfamiliar places. This has served him well most of the time. He also enjoys listening to and exploring a wide variety of music with an emphasis on Americana and folk. This is perhaps due to his long love of Bob Dylan's music. He is also frequently seen with a camera around his neck.
The following is his Educational Philosophy:
"I believe in a progressive education philosophy and am influenced by educators and scholars such as Socrates, John Dewey, Deborah Meier, Aldo Leopold, David Kolb, and Alfie Kohn. All students should be treated as assets who contribute to the learning community. Education should serve as a means to pique student curiosity and they should be given opportunities to explore and learn in real world situations. As an educator who has worked with aspiring teachers in higher education, my goal has always been to instill in my students the idea that learning is fun, lifelong and largely occurs outside of the classroom, textbooks and worksheets."