What is Beyond the Walls Education?

Beyond the Walls Education (BWE) was created with the belief that the majority of our education comes from life itself, while understanding the role formal education plays in our learning process.  BWE is dedicated to helping  students make the most out of their education.  The past year with COVID 19 restrictions and Distance Learning has proved to be a huge challenge meeting the needs of all students,  teachers and the greater  communities.  There has 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 one of these have had a huge impact on our education system putting further stress on 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 we help teachers create active, experience based curriculum that incorporates civics and social justice engages students, ,  while keeping students  at the center of their learning.   We help students create well developed plans that help them reach their education and career goals with a blend of focused formal study and experiential learning.  BWE offer 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. 

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Chris Brown

As an educator (teacher, administrator and college faculty member) for over 35 years, Chris has a wide variety of experience in schools and education initiatives. 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 different schools in Minnesota and developed education programs for a non-profit.  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 is 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 Authorizor program.  Throughout his career he has  worked with students from a wide aray of diverse backgrounds including immigrant and refugee students.

 

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 John Dewey, Socrates, 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.