The Art of Education :: An 8-week virtual course


A community learning experience facilitated by John Gruber

Date TBA for 2019

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Whenever I am in John's class, I find myself highly engaged and empowered to seek out the unfolding of my own spark of creative intelligence, which he models so beautifully.—Jeff B.

Young or old, each one of us has a spark within.  It’s a love for discovery.  A passionate enthusiasm for interacting with the world.  A delight in learning and a celebration in sharing.  This unquenchable curiosity defines the human experience. At its best, education fans these flames of curiosity. 

As teachers, we have a sacred charge to cultivate this natural love of learning. We model our own curiosity and nurture it in others. We celebrate discoveries.  We build sturdy hearths to nurture the spark of learning in our students.  We share our own enthusiasm for learning and kindle this drive in those around us.

Unfortunately, many current educational approaches fall far short of this ideal. The strict expectations of standardized testing and curriculum leave teachers and students more burnt out than lit up. We’re stressed and disheartened.  Educators with the very best intentions are often confused about how to infuse this love of learning in an environment that feels dry, regulated, and barren of passion.  All too often, the learning process feels more like a chore than a delight.

What if you reconnected with your own inner spark?  What if you knew how to support and strengthen it in your students—more of them, more of the time?  What if you could be more present to what’s arising, moment-to-moment, so you can cultivate this fire of cosmic delight?  What if your personal life and professional practice felt more aligned and passionate?

John Gruber has spent the past 25 years asking such questions and exploring the art and practice of education. He brings an adventurer's enthusiasm to teaching, learning, and the sacred ground within which they arise. John is an innovative educator with the heart of a mystic.  His approach is informed by his spiritual practice, his integral understanding, and his irresistible love for discovery.  John has a gift for bringing heart and soul into the classroom, and recognizes the boundless possibilities of education as a path to awakening and engaging our collective evolution.

Join us for this transformative, 8-week online course!  Together we'll explore the evolutionary edge of education, honoring depth and breadth, spontaneity and rigor, individuality and the power of the group.  We'll address the myriad roles of educator, and how you can keep your own sacred spark from burning out, while nurturing it in others.  Learn to bridge the theoretical and the practical as you hear classroom-tested practices from John Gruber and get support from a kindred community of educators.  Reclaim your teaching practice as a spiritual path that inspires you, your students, and everyone around you.


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Something magical happens when we connect to our innate drive to learn.  It’s massively exciting!  When we align with this natural spark, and meet others at their own growing edge, learning becomes an adventure, full of life and love.

Imagine shifting your educational approach ...

from dry, limiting curriculums ...

from stress and overwhelm ...

from disconnection and alienation ...

from rote memorization ...

from “one-size-fits-all” ...

to juicy, joyful explorations.

to curiosity and excitement.

to rewarding connection and celebration.

to delightful discoveries.

to personalized facilitation.

An integral approach to education brings this love of learning to life in the widest variety of situations.  It is driven by the question:

What is the most inspirational, transformative learning experience we can have in this precise moment?

With this inquiry foremost on our minds, we begin to create unique, fascinating circumstances that inspire others—and ignite the spark that lights us all up.

Sharing this educational spark takes more than good intentions and abundant inspiration.  It takes practice, dedication, and know-how.  (And a seasoned guide and kindred community are highly recommended!)

Next Step Integral is delighted to present:


The Art of Education
Igniting the Spark of Lifelong Learning

An 8-Week Virtual Course
with John Gruber

Get the inspiration, know-how, and support you need to reconnect to your own inner spark of learning—and kindle those flames in everyone you teach.

Our guide for this online course is John Gruber—an exceptional teacher and experienced facilitator who’s brimming with practical ideas and irresistible inspiration.

A note from Stephan:

Here at Next Step Integral, we look for teachers and presenters who aren’t just talking about something, but are actually embodying it, living it, transmitting it through their whole being.  John’s a prime example of this.  He walks the talk of what it is to be an integral teacher and spiritual person.  I’ve never met a more enthusiastic teacher!  It springs from an authentic source within him.  When I’m around him, I fall more in love with the world—because he’s so in love with it.  He’s so connected to that spark inside himself, he ignites that spark inside me.  Stephan Martineau, President, Next Step Integral


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Discover how an integral approach can revolutionize your educational practice.

An integral approach to education creates fresh opportunities for teachers and learners alike to engage as many dimensions of experience as possible.  It provides the richest understanding of our world to date, honoring multiple perspectives, diverse lines of development, and the very ground from which all learning arises—all in an elegant, streamlined framework.

What does this mean for you?  You’ll learn to create learning experiences that are effective and inspiring, comprehensive and focused, individualized and inclusive.  All while nourishing your personal practice, enticing curiosity, and cultivating the collective.


Who is this Course for?

This course goes far beyond narrow definitions of education as something that only happens within the four walls of a classroom.  Our definition of “teacher,” then, is expansive, including anyone who’s interested and engaged in kindling the spark of curiosity within themselves and anyone around them.

You’ll benefit tremendously from this course if:

  • You’re a classroom teacher, working to reach students of any age, on any subject matter, in any mode.
  • You’re an educational professional working in administration, policy, or strategy.
  • You’re a parent working to engage your child’s curiosity and understanding at home and beyond.
  • You’re involved in homeschooling or other alternative educational frameworks.
  • You’re a speaker, facilitator, mediator, consultant, or group leader for any age or type of gathering.
  • You’re a lifelong learner, committed to applying these principles to educating yourself and celebrating curiosity and discovery with those around you.


What to Expect from this Course:

  • This course bridges theoretical frameworks and practical strategies, with an emphasis on exploration and relevant experience.
  • We include perspectives on you the educator, your students (or whoever you’re engaged with), and that sacred we-space that arises between.
  • We love big ideas!  But we’re most excited about where the theoretical rubber hits the experiential road.  We’ve designed this course to be practical, concrete, and actionable.
  • You’ll learn about the underlying principles and overarching perspectives within an integral approach to education and explore concrete examples of how these play out in day-to-day, real-life educational situations.
  • We’ll draw from John Gruber’s 25+ years of experience teaching, so you’ll get classroom-tested examples and strategies applicable to a wide variety of educational settings.
  • You’ll learn how to stay grounded, nourished, and fulfilled throughout the school year, so you can make education a sustainable lifelong adventure.
  • Discover new ways to prevent and soothe burnout, disenchantment, and depletion.  Refuel yourself so you can better serve others and transform your work into something that encourages and excites you.
  • Connect to a supportive practice community.
  • Evolve, broaden, and deepen your perspective of what education can truly be, and rediscover your calling as a spiritual practice.


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Here's what we'll learn in our 8 weeks together:



  • Expand your understanding of education, and get a sense of the boundless possibilities it can hold.
  • Hear about John Gruber’s personal evolution as an educator, and what it means to be a teacher at this unique moment in history.
  • Explore the vital roles of imagination, interconnectedness, and wholeness in the learning process.
  • Unpack the question, “What makes an educational experience integral?” and learn to apply it, moment-to-moment.


  • Discover why it’s essential to bring the very best of yourself to the art of teaching.
  • Explore the implications of integral education as a personal practice — and what this means for you at this point in your journey.
  • Learn approaches and frameworks for making teaching the most fulfilling, sustainable experience it can be — now, and for years to come.
  • Get specific, practical suggestions for staying centered when you feel discouraged, disheartened, or stuck.


  • Learn about the most common difficulties, challenges, and sticking points any teacher faces — and how to prepare for them.
  • Discover powerful practices and perspectives for transforming challenges into valuable teaching opportunities.
  • Get specific strategies for reaching students, parents, and peers — even in the most stressful situations.
  • Learn to apply the centering principles of Week #2 to particular situations so you can keep your balance and sense of purpose amidst the most challenging moments.


  • The collective is an incredible resource!  Learn how to engage the power of community and balance individual and group objectives.
  • Get specific tools and strategies to navigate complex relationships, different perspectives, and varied voices.
  • Learn how to facilitate constructive dialogue, deep listening, and perspective shifts.
  • Nurture the intersubjective space to deepen understanding.
  • Build trust and mutuality by skillfully offering and receiving feedback.


  • Reach more students, more of the time by engaging diverse styles, modes, and strategies of learning.
  • Learn why creative work and variety deepen our understanding — and how to harness their power in more situations.
  • Work actively with state experiences, shifting from passivity to inspiration, excited engagement, and higher learning.
  • Bring the body and all of the senses to learning experiences to maximize understanding and retention.


  • Spark your learners’ personal investment in material to connect, engage, and make the experience meaningful.
  • Learn how to ask questions of significance, find out why it matters, and make everything personally engaging and compelling.
  • Discover why paradox is one of our richest teaching tools, and how to facilitate more “ah-ha!” moments to drive learning.
  • Explore the dimensions of polarity and controversy, and how to apply them through integral educational contexts.


  • Learn the best ways to create opportunities for reflection and feedback on others’ work.
  • Move beyond dry assessments into creative demonstrations of understanding that invite collective understanding.
  • Create participatory assessments that drive more learning and reflect diversity.
  • Promote more authentic learning through co-creating curriculum, constructive feedback methods, and peer assessments (and learn how to make these actually work!).


  • Zoom out and see how everything we’ve covered connects to our big, beautiful mission of being lifelong learners and educators, in the broadest sense.
  • Give your full attention and highest self to what’s present, moment-to-moment.
  • Align your teaching practice and your personal life through meaning, mission, and passion.
  • Celebrate the big-picture impact of your teaching as a spiritual practice, through an integral-evolutionary lens.
  • Imagine and identify the countless, diverse, surprising ways we’re all teachers, so you can apply this course everywhere you go.



We’re dedicated to making this learning experience as supportive, friendly, and helpful as possible.  So we’re applying everything we know about education to this course, itself, to engage you: through different methods of learning, balancing individual and collective work, and ongoing communication and co-creation.

What's included:

  • 8 recorded sessions, 45-60 minutes each (1 video + 7 audio sessions).  Stream them directly and/or download them to CD or mp3 player.
  • Live group conference calls with John Gruber.  Go deeper with the ideas from each session, ask questions, and engage in lively conversation.
  • Access to a private online community forum for greater sharing, connection, and support among participants.
  • Access to a virtual workspace that makes it easy to share files, documents, and images with the course community, supporting brainstorming and the exchange of ideas.
  • 3 bonus interviews with education experts to complement and expand upon course material.
  • Can’t make it live?  No problem!  You’ll get access to a private members’ page including all course session materials (recordings to stream directly or download, plus all accompanying handouts and more).  Work through the course whenever is most convenient for you!

Your Investment: $275.


BONUS CALLS :: Three interviews with renowned education experts




Supplement the course content and deepen your exploration with three education experts. 


BONUS CALL #1 with Parker Palmer from the Center for Courage and Renewal on the place of heart and soul in the relationship between teachers and students.

Parker Palmer is a world-renowned author, speaker, educator, and activist who focuses on issues in education, community, leadership, spirituality and social change. He is the founder and Senior Partner of the Center for Courage & Renewal. He has reached millions worldwide through his nine books, including Let Your Life Speak, The Courage to Teach, A Hidden Wholeness, and Healing the Heart of Democracy.

Parker holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley, along with ten honorary doctorates, two Distinguished Achievement Awards from the National Educational Press Association, and an Award of Excellence from the Associated Church Press. In 2010, Palmer was given the William Rainey Harper Award whose previous recipients include Margaret Mead, Elie Wiesel, and Paolo Freire. In 2011, he was named an Utne Reader Visionary, one of “25 people who are changing your world”.

For more information on Parker Palmer’s work, please visit:


BONUS CALL #2 with Robert McNamara from Performance Coaching & Psychotherapy for the Evolving You on bringing our elegant highest self to teaching, and how as teachers we might engage with conflicts that arise 

Rob McNamara is author of The Elegant Self and Strength to Awaken. He specializes in helping people resolve their persistent painful limitations to become more powerful, proficient and aligned with what matters most in life. Rob is a skilled Psychotherapist, leading Performance Coach, Psychology Professor of developmental and transpersonal psychology at Naropa University and an Integral Zen Practitioner. He runs his private practice in Boulder Colorado serving clients world-wide. Rob works with a broad range of executives and professionals, undergraduate and graduate students and athletes ranging from high school to Olympic and professional world champions.

Rob’s expertise focuses on the intersection of integral practice, adult development, human performance and integral strength training.


BONUS CALL #3 with Dr. Valentina Tassone from Wageningen University on how to inspire and to engage people for social change, for sustainability and quality of life.

Dr. Valentina Tassone is a lecturer at Wageningen University, Education and Competence Studies Chair Group, in the Netherlands. She is a teacher, a scholar and a counselor in the field of human development and capacity building for sustainability and quality of life.

Since the late 1990s she has conducted scientific research, consultancy and educational activities in Europe (Italy, the Netherlands, Malta, Estonia, Poland) and South Africa, especially focusing on participatory processes, community development, transformative learning, mindsets and competence development supporting transition towards sustainability and enhancing quality of life. She has worked in interdisciplinary projects funded by the EU, WWF, IUCN, and many other international organizations. Valentina holds a PhD degree in environmental policy.



For all the details on course dates, times, and other logistics, please click here (or scroll down) to view the FAQ.


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Course facilitator:




John Gruber has been involved in education for more than 25 years as a teacher and mentor to students of all ages.  He has worked actively in the areas of curriculum design and development, teacher training, and innovative approaches to learning in the classroom, the laboratory, and the field.

John has worked for twenty-two years at an independent Quaker day school in Philadelphia where he is the Chairman of the Science Department, Director of the Summer Science Institute, and leader of a Visiting Scholar seminar program. John has also been on the Next Step Integral faculty at eight summer seminars focused on integral education, integral ecology, and integral community.

John also has an active spiritual practice.  He’s a devoted Zen practitioner, a Dharma Holder in the White Plum Asanga, and a priest and Clerk of the Board of Directors at the Soji Zen Center. John is a teacher, photographer, writer, and ecologist devoted to realizing human potential.  When he walks in nature, he notices moths, plants, and certain slants of light that many of us would unknowingly pass by.  John delights in how the natural world comes alive to us in subtle and profoundly exciting ways.

I often think about the work that is before us as we move more deeply into the challenges and possibilities of this twenty-first century. Education stands out to me as the single most important and meaningful place for us to devote our energy and passion in a way that might make a difference across generations. Teaching and learning are at the heart of all of our growth and evolution. I feel like we have only begun to discover the potential that can be realized in deeply thoughtful, intentional learning communities. As educators, we can always expand our range, deepen our capacities, and push forward the edges of our own teaching practice. We can also find boundless joy and deep satisfaction in the exploring what can come to us and come through us in our own teaching practice. I love the work that I am engaged in every day in my classroom, my research lab, and in the world at large. I am eager to share some of this sense of excitement with other educators who are similarly inclined to explore the experience of teaching and learning at its best.'

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Praise for John Gruber's Work

John Gruber is fun — he's the life-changing science teacher you wish you had — bright, clear, and full of delight, wonder, and humor. He also brings the wonders of science alive, not just for kids but for adults, with cool images, stories, and factoids that blur the line between learning and playing.—Terry Patten, author, Integral Life PracticeIntegral Evolutionary PracticeThe Integral Revolution

Evolved teachers have some very remarkable qualities that support the growing up and waking up of the students who are in their presence. John Gruber is one of the most outstanding teachers I have experienced — his presence, which comes out of his highly developed consciousness, his commitment to the creation of the highest quality of contexts or containers for his students, and his knowledge of his topics supports a transmission seldom experienced. He is, indeed, a beloved teacher who can share with others the beauty of his gifts.—Terri O'Fallon, founder and faculty at Pacific Integral, writer, integral educator

John Gruber approaches education in a thoughtful and holistic way. His passion and attentiveness create an environment that nurtures curiosity, deep understanding, and personal reflection.  John knows how to shape educational experiences for his audience while maintaining an openness to what emerges.  His constant smile and loving attitude make him highly regarded by students and colleagues alike.—Kazuo Uyehara, Ecologist, Teacher, Social Justice Activist

I worked with John Gruber throughout my high school years and I strongly believe that no other teacher in the rest of my continued education will have the profound and inspiring effect that John has had on me. He has the unique ability to instill his passion for learning in his students and create an amazing sense of wonder in the classroom setting. John creates unique and personal relationships with each and every student by investing himself in their lives in order to understand each individual perspective. His students not only become passionate about learning but they also have a great sense of admiration towards his extraordinary ability to see the beauty in our everyday lives.—Claudia Rizzo, former student, ballet dancer

John brought learning to life for me. He was able to transform words on a page to real life lessons that remain in my mind forever. He not only brought the world of science to my attention, but captivated my mind to learn more, explore the world and seek the beauty. His varying methods and trips changed my life and how I see the world today. I could not have asked for a better teacher, mentor and friend.—Caroline, former student

It has been a blessing to have John as a teacher and mentor throughout and beyond my time with him as a student. His teaching is guided by a deep care for his students and his joy for bringing the learning process to life in a relationship of collective inspiration with them.—Jeff Berman, former student


Frequently Asked Questions:

Q:  I know nothing about the “Integral framework.”  Will I be lost?

A:  Absolutely not!  Our curriculum is inspired by the Integral framework, and seeks to bring it to life—yet you will not need to learn a whole new “Integral” vocabulary to participate!  We find the Integral framework is most helpful when we allow it to inform our inquiries, without getting too bogged down in jargon.  We aim to make this course accessible to people who have never heard of “integral,” yet want to discover the power of its applications.

Q: I’m an Integral expert!  Will I be bored?

A:  Absolutely not!  Many courses in the “Integral” world begin with the same refresher course on the Integral framework, to bring everyone up to speed—and if you’ve heard this many times, we understand dreading hearing it again!  So we’re cutting right to the chase and diving straight into how to apply an integral-evolutionary perspective to an educational context.

Q:  I’m not a classroom teacher, but this sounds awesome!  Could I still benefit from the course?

A:  Absolutely!!  We’ve designed this course to apply to a wide range of situations, professions, and circumstances.  We’re expanding the definition of education to an exciting new realm of possibilities!  So: if you engage with people at all, if you’re interested in lifelong learning, and if this course sparks your own curiosity, you’re most welcome!

Q: What is a virtual course?

A: It’s a course that is offered via the internet and the phone (or an equivalent voice service), and in this way it offers a wonderful way to engage in live and recorded lectures, discussions, and interactions with course instructorJohn Gruber, and participants from around the world from the comfort of your own home!

Between sessions, participants are also invited to share their experiences and reflections in a private online facebook group and to interact with other participants.

For the live Q&A calls we use MaestroConference to make it just like an in-person event, where you can ask questions, participate in groups, and deepen your exploration of the course themes. If you choose to participate by phone, depending on your telephone service, you may also incur some long-distance charges for the calls themselves. You can also use Skype credit/subscription or Google Voice to dial in to MaestroConference. Other options include calling cards and discount long-distance carriers.

Q: When exactly does this course happen?

A: 2018 dates TBA.  Your weekly recorded teaching and practice sessions will be released each Monday at 9am PST, as well as accompanying handouts, journalling impulses and resources. The live Q&A calls will happen on Saturdays, 9-10am PST. You will have continued access to all the recordings and course material following the end of the course for an additional month), so that you can download any materials or save any content that you would like to keep for your personal files.

Q: What if I miss a class or any of the live Q&A sessions?

A: No problem! If you miss any of the sessions, you can access all the recordings on our members’ page.  Stream them right there or download them to your laptop, mp3 player, or to CD.  You can also access all the accompanying handouts and materials there.  Plus, you can engage with the full learning community in our private Facebook group.  And if you know you’ll miss a live call, but have a burning question for John to answer, you can email him before the call (write to: ). This is the beauty of this format! You can work with this course material at the time that is most convenient for you.

Q: How much does this course cost?

A: This eight-week course costs $275 .

Q: Are there scholarships available for this course?

A: Yes.  We make sure that a certain percentage of spaces are available for partial scholarships, giving preference to those in developing countries or doing important but underpaid work to which they can apply the training material immediately. If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please send us a maximum of 2 pages detailing why you should receive one of these scholarships:

Q: Does this course offer any continuing education credits (CECs) or clock hours for teachers?

A: If you are a teacher in WA, USA, you can get 13 clock hours for taking this course.

For teachers elsewhere there are no CECs or clock hours available.

Q: What is your refund policy?

A: Refunds will be given for cancellations received in writing or via e-mail one day before course begins. A $45.00 processing fee will be deducted. After course starts no refunds will be made on any cancellations received.

Q: How can I reach Customer Support?

A: If you have any questions, or encounter any difficulties registering, please contact us at and we’ll be happy to help you!

We're so looking forward to sharing this journey with you!


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