The 21st Century is a whole new chapter in the human story. Our time now truly constitutes an extraordinary opportunity to help pioneer new pathways in education. The origin of the word ‘crisis’ is ‘change’. Educators in every part of the globe stand at this remarkable threshold knowing there will be a group of bright-eyed young students looking to them tomorrow for direction, for instruction, for answers. At least, that is the presumption and premise of the last 100 years public education. But it’s really not the answers that children need. What they need are the questions – engaging, relevant, process oriented questions. That is the job of educators. And that is the exciting crisis/opportunity we face! It is a change in polarity.
Here are some starter questions in light of this proposition:
What are examples of new pathways in education that are beginning to reveal themselves at this time?
Are the needs of 21st century children any different from any other time? How so? What needs are perennial? What needs are symptomatic of the current and currency of our times now?
What values are universal – independent of cultural, economic, ethnic or religious background? How are those values demonstrated in the young, in the We Generation, the ‘millenials’?
Sixty years ago the United Nations drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. What values does that declaration uphold? How is it relevant today? What needs to be updated in it now?
What about the classic academic disciplines? How should they be thought about anew? Why are the sciences merging, cross-weaving, becoming more and more integrated and inter-dependent? Why are the sciences also requiring increased acute specialization?
These are hints and clues…starter questions to get into the territory.
The greater the foundation, the greater the versatility. The greater the versatility, the greater the ability to respond. The greater the response – ability, the greater the need for continually updating one’s foundation. Why do we need a solid foundation on one hand and a mercurial ability to change and adapt on the other? What does it say about the times we’ve entered into?
Finally, there’s no way to ‘go it alone’. It seems those days are one of the many things to simply leave behind. We need each other in more ways than we realized. Cooperation, interdependence and integration have become necessity, not the exception. Why do you think this is so?
If it were up to me, there would be a year long world forum on new pathways in human education. One can hope! In the meantime we learn by our students; our students teach us to pursue the questions that seem to open new pathways for us all to expand into, if we have the humility, the humanity and the courage.
The adventure is just beginning!