Our world will become an uncertain and very different place for all life on Earth including our young people, their children, and their grandchildren. Here are four examples of what is predicted by many scientists and sociologists :. They erroneously believe that we humans have dominion over Nature and are able to control and predict Nature and its environment. Our disconnected elders erroneously believe that our technology will save us if anything bad, like climate change, takes place. The result is the growing crisis that we humans are now facing. Indeed, the destructive worldviews of our elders are leaving a horrible mess for our young people.
No matter what career students choose, these young people will be forced to plan their lives based on political instability, economic instability, and environmental instability in the years to come.
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In the face of this crisis, what can educators do to offer our youth a chance for a productive, sustainable, and happy life? The answer lies with educators because educators have the capability to empower our youth with a worldview that is compatible with the way Nature and society does operate. The fact is that all of Nature, including we humans and human society, is interconnected and interdependent. This energy is then transported and transformed from one organism to another organism.
These processes are both ecological and social. They form networks of interconnection and interdependence. The greatest gift that we can offer our youth is the power of a worldview that sees everything on Earth, including Nature and our human society, as interconnected and interdependent. For the most part, these young people have fresh minds that have not been corrupted by the disconnected worldviews of their elders.
In doing so, our youth can acquire the wisdom of interdependence and systems thinking. In other words, we must first understand how the connections are made between things before we can understand the whole system. Education of our youth must be based on the premise that each person find identity, meaning, and purpose in life through connections to the community, to the natural world, and to humanitarian values such as compassion and peace.
However, there is one characteristic of modern education that may stand in the way of achieving a meaningful holistic education. But in school, many of us are taught subjects in a compartmentalized way, with history in one class, natural science in another, social studies in yet another, and so on. In other words, we are taught to understand Nature and society in parts.
We are not taught how these parts are connected.
We are not taught how and why things in life are interdependent. Yet most real world issues, like climate change, terrorism, and water use, are understood by connecting disciplines such as politics, geography, history, and biology. The current compartmentalized approach in most schools reinforces the incorrect idea in the minds of our students that knowledge is made up of many unrelated parts that are not connected. This lack of systems thinking provides little opportunity for students to see recurring patterns of behavior across subjects and disciplines in their real world.
Our students need to find identity, meaning, and purpose in life through connections to the community, to the natural world, and to humanitarian values such as compassion and peace. Indeed, with an understanding of living systems like ecosystems ,climate change,and other ecological challenges, we humans will be able to assess what we are doing wrong that causes bad things to happen.
It will be this revised system of education that will give our youth a worldview of connection and interdependence in our moral philosophy, our society, and in Nature.
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It will be this revised worldview that replaces the destructive worldview of our elders. It will be this worldview of interdependence that equips our youth to solve our problems of over-population, unsustainable consumption, climate change, and other issues. Educators are a critically important influence in making this change. What follows is a preliminary list of important things that our educators must do to begin the process.
If educators are going to emphasize relationships and interdependence in the hearts and minds of our students, these concepts must be reflected in the curriculum. We must stop teaching such subjects as mathematics, history, or literature as separate subjects. In addition to teaching facts in each class, we must now emphasize how the material relates to the other subjects we are teaching.
A religion or ethics class should conduct seminars with case studies about how religion and ethics can be applied to social systems. All of these classes should now employ an inquiry-based Socratic seminar approach described in the next section where students participate in seminar discussions rather than listen to lectures. Imagine, for a moment, teaching and learning that looks like this:. Education is much more than force feeding information to students and measuring how well they regurgitate that information back to the teacher on command or through testing.
With the facilitator asking questions instead of lecturing, the student is required to think and probe. This process of critical thinking embeds knowledge and creates a curiosity and a yearning to learn more. Critical thinking encourages the exploration, adventure, and discovery that we see in outdoor education. In this program, we used no text books. There were no lectures. Classes were totally inquiry-based where the professor played the role of facilitator by continually posing difficult questions.
We students would prepare for a class by doing research and gathering facts to support conclusions. That preparation was vital to building a knowledge base for a given class session. We learned the value of good research. We gained the ability to think about and defend our ideas.
Pedagogy: PBL – Project Based Learning
Most important, we built critical thinking skills as we defended our ideas in front of our peers and our professor. This Harvard experience became the model for my role as an educator. I was amazed to find that the inquiry-based approach to learning worked well with my university graduate students as well as my primary 5th grade and up , secondary, and high school students. Benefits of Inquiry-Based learning include:. What is needed are tools to help the student explore relationships in our world.
Exams do not accomplish this. However, a student project provides the opportunity for the student to learn about relationships, exercise that knowledge in a practical way, and to be evaluated. While both projects and exams will get a student to memorize new information, the skill that is needed is applying the information. Project-based learning will teach the material, and then guide the student to seek out information, then apply the new knowledge to explore real world examples, and encourage working in groups to reinforce the new knowledge. When we eliminate compartmentalized idea of exams in the curriculum, how are we able to evaluate student progress?
Inquiry-Based learning provides an automatic tool for evaluating progress. That tool is to grade students at each class or seminar session according to their participation and preparation. When the facilitator calls upon a student to explore a certain issue in class, it will become quickly apparent whether the student has prepared for the class.
In addition, active and voluntary, meaningful participation should be rewarded with a higher grade. I start each school year by giving each student a grade of This grade can be reduced if a student fails to prepare or participate.
His school life was chaotic but he achieved passes at crucial moments just allowing him to squeeze through to the next stage. Now a year before his final school exams he has hit a wall. He has a positive diagnosis of dyspraxia done without help or support from school — luckily I have a cousin who is a GP who gave me invaluable advise , and has quit school feeling a total failure.
We support him and build his confidence but it feels like we are constantly having to repair the damage the education systems inflict on him ….
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David, what you are doing is truly wonderful, and I appreciate all your work and effort. I love Rick Lavoie too and love all the work he does. I guess as a mom with 2 dyslexic children, the big question I have, can the system change? Teachers are not even trained properly to teach reading anymore, they are forced to use the John Dewey ideals, which have been around well over 80 years. Accessability starts from the heart, there has to be a will from those that have the grip hold on the system to want to help our children.
The biggest problem the parents have is the fight with their schools. We parents have to become lawyers, doctors, and teachers now. Most parents I know have to actually teach their children, because of all this learning through discovery methods. Society needs to start preserving and protecting life, will it? I look at all these kids that struggle, and feel sick everyday, what have we done to our children? I hope and pray that someday we adults can change, and access how to better serve our children. Thank You. Thanks for your comment Holly.
Having a misorienting view of learning infects everything about how we think about educating and parenting. We could never have gone to the moon or developed the modern digital world with Newtonian physics. We needed a revolution in our basic assumptions to take the next steps. Same for education. Most efforts to reform education are analogous to rearranging the litter box and expecting a new breed of cat to jump out it.
Your children are fortunate to have a mom who cares enough to learn how to help them. Thanks and all the best, David. Children learn to walk naturally, that is, without explicit instruction, simply because children are their own ready instruments-and-contraption. A one-to-one spelling code is like a scooter bike: such a bike is relatively easy to learn to ride, because its tipping altitude is only inches off the ground. How badly can you be instructed in learning to blink if you already know how? A probabilistic spelling code is not itself a disadvantage. These are not those parents in third world countries who live in such poverty-of-advantage that they do not expect their children ever to get a better life than they had growing up.
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No, these are parents who see worldly success so promisingly within reach that they become not only greedy for it, but feel themselves robbed of it at any point at which they get less of it than they expect. The interviews were wonderful. I could go back to many references to processing speed but that would take me too much time to ask about specific interviewees expressions. Our son actually has very good comprehension even with the holes in the text he is able to read.
He remarkably is able to figure out answers and is a good test taker because of this ability…but he will even tell you that he skims because he cannot read it all and it is easier for him to focus his mind on words he knows and make assumptions about the content, than to read comprehensively and try to figure out the jumble.
His struggles with reading, spelling and his greatest struggle writing have persisted throughout his schooling, currently he is in 6th grade. In the mean time we are quite clear that he can learn other ways, which are just as valid as reading to gather information at school. He maintains high grades but we know he suffers daily from not being able to read, spell or write with out tremendous frustration and concentration and effort.
I really admire what he is able to accomplish even when it is generally illegible. He reads a novel every week or two using bookshare and he loves to read this way…text to voice. What are your thoughts on his processing speed and what can we do to help build this area, or is it set and fixed? It seems to be the common denominator in his persistent inability to code and encode. What specific ideas do you have to adjust the learning environment to avoid the shame factor these kids experience? Ben is very fortunate to have such a carefully learning oriented mother! To your questions:.
Yet, remember, that speed is relative to processing efficiency. The worse the processing efficiency the greater the speed required for any given time critical processing task. I often suggest ping-pong and the Simon game. Getting better at ping pong exercises the speed of attention. The Simon Game exercises auditory discrimination and auditory memory and stretches both into greater speed.
FastForward and other neuroplasticity-science based products are also designed to exercise discrimination, speed, and memory. What are your thoughts on digital text that allows him access to books by way of text to speech? Everywhere possible I would have him read along with what he is listening to. I also recommend contextualizing the use of these as temporary conveniences. The learning environment must be careful with shame. Stewards parents, teachers and other involved adults should help children contextualize their emotional experience of the challenge of learning to read in a way that minimizes their propensity for self-blame.
Generally speaking, everyone family, educators, peers need to learn about how learning disabling shame can be and become more careful with how they prompt it. Thanks Robbi.
Eric C Sommer from Taneytown, MD, age 51 | Persons Records
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