The Oysi School, or School of Listening teaches the value of orality, art and poetry as multidimensional vehicles to expand knowledge for the future.

It seeks the experiential transmission of ancestral oral wisdom from elders to children, and vice versa. Its purpose is to liberate the imagination of indigenous children colonized by the limiting influence of educational systems based exclusively on literacy, to empower them to discover the beauty and meaning of their own oral cultures.

The Oysi School creates opportunities for oral wisdom to emerge through communal dialogue and exchanges in an intercultural context. Exchanges to be recorded and transmitted by the people themselves via the Oysi website or other means of their choice.

Marshall McLuhan prophesized that digital culture would bring a return of the oral. Today, we see how the digital medium empowers people in their struggle for liberation.

The Oysi school is not a place but a process, an experience created at the invitation of different communities where wisdom traditions are in the balance. It is co-created by Oysi artists and local communities seeking to value their ways of knowing to transmit it to the new generations.

Oysi is a non-method in the making, a quest for a new kind of relation between teacher, child and community. It begins as play, as a spontaneous exploration of the qualities of the moment, including the conflicts at hand. Dialogs and questions emerge which lead into a deeper listening. Art and a new awareness are the result.

Its purpose is to empower the children by letting them be themselves, unleashing their innate creativity and desire to know.

The Oysi School creates workshops and exchanges, opportunities for collective wisdom and individual awareness to emerge. A communal acknowledgement of the value and meaning of local knowledge is key to the dignity of a culture, its survival and ability to negotiate with the world.

Many indigenous schools and intercultural educational projects around the world are now creating experiential models in their quest for a new kind of education that values communal knowledge. Their findings will eventually influence other teaching methods and inspire changes in the educational system of mainstream societies.

Oysi School will highlight and bring together salient examples of this process to create a place for exchange and mutual learning. We believe that these experiences, often conducted on the small scale of a classroom or community, will be enlarged once they are interconnected. A commonality within diversity might grow into the critical mass of a worldwide movement.

The Oysi School runs in two parallel modes: Oysi School Projects and Projects by Others.

Oysi Projects are developed by the Oysi team.

Projects by Others are digital gatherings of experiences of transmission of wisdom in affinity with the spirit of Oysi.

About the name
We see the Oysi School as a “floating school” inspired by Mau Piailug, the master Polynesian navigator dedicated to transmit the ancient way of teaching, where children learned to develop a bodily connection to the cosmos. (See The Last Navigator). In Chinese, the diagram for the word “floating” (Fú), is composed of child and water. For us, the “floating” metaphor refers to the experiential, experimental nature of our projects, constantly in flux.

We call it “school”, to bring back the ancient associations of a word that originally meant “stole or outfit”, implying the notion of leisure and fun. We are also inspired by the sufi Kalandars and their master poet Fakhr-al-Din Iraqi, who wrote: “love is realized knowledge”.

Oysi embraces wisdom and love in the School to “outfit” humanity in its true nature. The word “school” refers as well to a group of fish that moves by quorum sensing to the benefit of all.

Implementation of Oysi School programs.
A critical aspect is the teaching of art to awaken a connection to the local stories and environment. The workshops establish methods for communities to tell and document their own stories in a dynamic and ongoing manner with a continuing flow of audio and visual materials with full access to the wider world of the Internet. Teachers and artists will support these efforts in a frequency and manner tailored to the needs of each community.

We are open to artists, teachers and scholars who wish to participate in establishing Oysi School programs.

The Oysi School was created by James O’Hern and Cecilia Vicuña.