Monday, April 7, 2014


I have been repressing a question that keeps bubbling up in my international educational career...

Are we mostly wasting the time of the children (and parents) we are supposed to be helping? 

This thought doesn't stop me from trying hard and caring deeply within the system we are working in because there are random pockets of great learning for pockets of random students - but that level of efficiency wouldn't pass the test in most other industries. But then why should education be under the same microscope of market systems in which an ever increasing GDP is the almighty goal?

I believe schools for the future will exist to help nurture and develop a whole person: what that looks like for each person is as different as our fingerprints. And when I say person, I mean anyone form 0 to 99. Our current "Age ghettos" of daycare centers, K-12 schools, working adults, and senior homes need to be broken down in order to heal our 1st world societies. We have created ghettos of privilege in our islands of international schools with the false pretence of inclusion. Healthy inclusion of the future will mean a diversity of age, class, race, gender, language, and ability.

I have just come from a conference in Brussels that has given me the power to see the future - and the power to see what future societies may say about our current practices within the FACTORY MODEL (processing batches by age in boxes with separated subject silos for maximum production and external measurement of success).

Our current international schools of CELLS (class groups usually in rooms) AND BELLS (factory schedules for standardized parts for external measurement) can be dressed up, environmentally aware, repackaged and enlightened - but most of them are still organized in the following ways:

  • Accreditation systems in foreign lands that drive our international schools - MANIPULATION
  • Subjects broken into random topics according to some dead old white guys - OUT OF DATE
  • Core subjects being are more important (Math, English, Science) - NOT WHOLE PERSON
  • Thinking that learning in Cells, between Bells, can then be measured meaningfully is DELUSIONAL
  • Thinking that students can produce evidence of learning in our scheduled lessons is UNFAIR
  • Teachers are the only ones able to teach - UNTRUE
  • Not deeply connecting with the local community - LOST OPPORTUNITY
  • Not helping each child with exactly what they want, when they need it (or don't need it)- LOST TIME
  • Believing "Personalized Learning" will ever happen if we are still using a Factory Model (no matter how pretty that model might be) is INSANE.

"Drinking the kool-aid" (getting excited in the moment and dazzled by keynote speakers - like David Perkins from Harvard) was a phrase I heard at the airport as we all left Belgium. But in this case, an influential group came together because something NEEDS TO CHANGE - whether they agree on the type of change that will work can be debated. I choose to believe there is something in the air, and it sounds like LEARNER FREEDOM! 

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this Jenny. I couldn't agree more with you...and I do believe there is something in the air...great writing and great summary of points. Thanks for sharing your insight and your passion!! Old System breakdown commence :)