We live at a moment of dramatic change, and almost every institution is trying to figure out what its new value is in the modern, globally networked world. Schools are no exception, and I think that we in education are on the precipice of a fundamental rethink of why we want our children in schools with teachers in our communities. Schools are not going away, but their value is changing, and there is an urgency for us to figure out how to manifest that new value for our kids. To me, this is an amazingly interesting moment, filled with opportunity and challenge, chaos and questions. And I couldn’t be more passionate about making sense of it to whatever extent I can.
I feel strongly that for meaningful change to occur in education, we must start with what be believe about how kids learn and what’s important about education. Dewey created what he called his “Pedagogic Creed,” and in it he articulated about 75 statements that served as the lens through which he did his work.
Not sure I have 75 in me, but here are some of the beliefs that ground my work, subject to revision, of course:
- I believe all kids are natural learners, and that they are driven to learn by personal passions and questions and play, not by extrinsic rewards or contrived contexts.
- I believe that while most schools are trying their best to “educate” the students they serve, what a modern “education” now requires is no longer what traditional schooling provides.
- I believe that almost every one of us knows what is required for deep and powerful learning that sticks to take place, but that there is a huge disconnect between what we believe and know about learning and what we practice in schools.
- I believe that the Web and the technologies that we use to access it are dramatically changing and amplifying our ability to learn on our own without the aegis of the institution, and that moving forward learning will be more self-determined and self-organized by the learner.
- Because of all of that, I believe that the current legacy system of education is increasingly ineffective and irrelevant, and to quote Russell Ackoff, that we are “trying to do the wrong thing right” in schools.
- I also believe, however, that schools and teachers can play an incredibly important role in the lives of kids and communities, but that those roles are moving away from content expertise and delivery to learning expertise and practice.
- I believe that there are fundamentally new skills and literacies that our children will need to flourish in the world coming at them, ones that currently find no place in the experience of schooling.
- I believe that all of this makes this an amazing time to be a learner, but it also makes it perhaps the most challenging time to be in education…ever.
- Finally, I believe that we must and that we can change the experience of schooling to better serve our children in the modern world, but that we will have to summon a higher level of commitment and courage on the part of educators, parents, and policy makers to do so.
I look forward to engaging in the conversation with you.