Yes, so who’s NOT in favor of that? Imagine a school that promoted this as it’s mission: “deliver your child to us and we’ll deliver a capable, confident, accomplished, creative and immensely competent young person”. Whoa.
If we were as a culture to just be embarking on the business of education today, I suspect we’d draw heavily from what we know about human development from developmental psychology and neuroscience. We’d likely ask “what do we know about how children develop? How do their brains grow? What developmental needs to they have? And how do they best learn what they need to learn?”
We’d discover that there are different styles of learning, different modes of learning. We’d find that there are “optimal conditions to learning” (that apply equally to children as to adults) like: control over what you’re doing, choice about what you will do, and active in the process of learning.
Take this for example: “The Learner Centered Principles provide an excellent guide for restructuring our schools so that they are more relevant to students. A school that adopts and lives by these principles centers attention on learners rather than on teaching, curriculum, instruction or administration of the school. In a learner-centered school, education is done “with” instead of “to” students. Students feel connected in a learner-centered school; the student, his classmates and his teachers are “partners” in the learning process.” This is from an article put out by the American Psychological Association’s Board of Education Affairs.
Why does this NOT sound like the school in your neighborhood?
This information is not new. The above was put out in 1997. It remains largely ignored to today’s mainstream, traditional schools. Why? As I wrote yesterday: because the present model was designed NOT from a perspective of developmental concern for optimal learning and we’ve never looked back, never “innovated fundamentally”.
Human flourishing? Yes, and that needs to encompass not only the tangible (mostly academic) outcomes but also the intangible (character) outcomes. Ask parents what their vision of a secure, well-adjusted, ready for the world young adult looks like and this is what they tell you: responsible, a go-getter (self-starter), empathetic, good communicator and collaborator, creative, etc. Why? because these are the things that LIVING LIFE requires. As adults we know this. And these intangibles are the things that will serve a child’s life in the long term, they will be the backbone to their life.
Guess what? Traditional schools are not addressing these intangibles. They are not in the curriculum. Fundamental innovation is needed.