MatrixWorks in Education

Matrixworks, founded and developed by Mukara Meredith, MSW, Certified Hakomi Trainer, is used in business, health care, therapy and higher education.  

This month we would like to introduce the power of MatrixWorks in the context of University courses and Higher Education.MatrixWorks has been offered as a course in Naropa University’s masters program of Environmental Leadership for over a decade. This two-year program is rooted in a model of cohort learning where interpersonal skills are not only taught but also put in to practice. Professors are facilitators rather than lecturers, and course curricula leverage the diversity of opinions brought to the classroom. In order for such a model to work, students must learn to work together as a collective. With the right skills, the cohort can use their differences as gifts to lift themselves to a greater level of consciousness, care and mutual understanding. MatrixWorks teaches us to work as a team with all these qualities, thus it is a core component of the Environmental Leadership program.

MatrixWorks, however, has not always been part of the Environmental Leadership program. Anne Parker, the former long term Chair of the Environmental Studies Department and Professor for the Environmental Leadership program, met Mukara in 1996 at a Buddhist women’s group. Mukara was soon thereafter introduced as a faculty member at Naropa, bringing with her the important teachings of MatrixWorks. MatrixWorks has since then proven itself as an integral part of the Environmental Leadership program, and an important step in students’ developing a physiological and emotional comfort in groups.Anne says that with MatrixWorks now offered in the first semester of the program, the cohorts exhibit their capacity for “self regulation, maintaining health, supporting good communication and working with conflict.”

Together as One Every student in the Environmental Leadership cohort attends the exact same set of courses for two straight years. Anyone who has ever worked in a group of people would understand how it is easy for human relations to get messy. The MatrixWorks model is meant to assist each cohort with practicing their leadership skills and remaining present.Anne says that as a teacher, MatrixWorks has provided her with more confidence in groups– the ability to look beyond styles of command and control, aggression and oppression to find and support more collaborative and creative modes of learning. With MatrixWorks as part of the Environmental Leadership program, Anne feels Naropa is “developing compassionate, present people, with nifty intellectual minds.”

Sustainability

Sustainability promotes a sense of embodied education– the reality of sustainability helps us look at the whole person, whole culture and whole community.

Joe Soma, a teacher of MatrixWorks in the Environmental Leadership program, states:

The only path forward that is sustainable for us, at all levels, personally, societally, environmentally, technologically and in business, involves the practice of interconnection. At its essence, this is what MatrixWorks teaches.
A word about each of the levels mentioned above…
Healing on the personal level is usually through relationship and connection.
Our culture, our society is suffering greatly due to our lack of connection, the toxicity evident in our political process is just one example of how the lack of connection hurts everyone of us on a daily basis.
As the earth dies… so do we, we must find a more sustainable relationship.
And both technology and, in my view, business models that will last, are using social models… this will not ever go away. The only thing that will go away are the companies that do not get this.

-Article written by Sarah Melissa Oswald, Masters of Environmental Leadership, 2011-

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