Rhythms of becoming: The transformative potential of holistic education

Plan Author

  • Clayton Clemetson, 2019

Fields of Concentration

  • Holistic Education

Related Fields

  • Interdisciplinary Studies

Faculty Sponsors

Outside Evaluator

  • Kirstin Edelglass, New England Council Collective


The recent field of holistic education seeks to create empowering experiences of connection and growth rooted in developing the whole individual within the context of an interdependent world. This Plan explores the transformative potential of holistic education and the role of a learner-educator as a conscious steward of the relationships within and around us. My research examines holistic and transformative learning through a variety of different lenses: a research paper based on my experience as a student on a high school semester program; a podcast based on my participation in a college class on ritual; reflections on designing and teaching my own workshop series; and an analysis of my educational journey on Plan. The very essence of this work draws from a desire to support myself and others to be more engaged and empowered learners and to live in a way that nurtures a greater harmony with the individuals, communities, and ecosystems with which we are intimately and inexorably linked.


My analysis of Kroka became an investigation of the experience of being in the threshold body. As I spent time with the metaphor of the threshold body and explored how it applied to my time with Kroka, the metaphor became more intriguing to me. It appears that the presence, awareness, and responsiveness that we access through our threshold body are fundamental to our relationships and our ability to grow through our experiences. Because we are always encountering new experiences and new perspectives, these qualities allow us to navigate our way through an interconnected world.

In my writing practice, I experimented with freewriting to develop a stronger connection between my intuitive mind and the words that I write. Through the process of continuous writing—in which I did not allow myself to edit, backspace, or pause to think about how to phrase a sentence—my writing emerged from a direct connection with my inner dialogue. As the relationship between my thoughts and words being produced became more seamless, I could feel a sense of broadening perspective. I didn’t have to think as much about what I was writing and I could focus more of my attention on what I was thinking. I began to conceive of writing as a dance between the motion of my body and the music of my thoughts. The practice of freewriting allowed my perception of my thoughts and physical experience to merge through the space of my threshold body. When I was present in my threshold body, writing became the act of shaping ever flowing thoughts.

During the second draft of my podcast I incorporated student voices, scientific research, and changed the narration to better support the story. It felt important to include student voices because I wanted to hear other perspectives on the experience of humming in class that were not Amer’s or my own. I asked the students questions about their experience with the humming and their perspective on how it influenced their engagement in class. I looked for the specific moments when their skepticism shifted as a way to help listeners who might be skeptical to see the possibility for their perspective to change.


What I remember most from my work on Plan is how I was shaped by the challenges that I confronted. Challenges such as facing self-critical narratives brought me into a greater awareness of myself.

My Plan was inspired by a desire to investigate how to be more engaged and empowered learners. I facilitated a series of six workshops in which we explored Contact Improvisation as a metaphor for facing challenges in our lives.

After graduating from Marlboro, I will be teaching and leading with various semester programs, gap year programs, and music camps. My Plan helped deepen my understanding of how to create transformational and empowering learning spaces.