What do you want to do?
The notion of Redesigning Education is without a doubt all over the place. So much so, it’s at risk of becoming a rhetoric. Two of its renowned champions, Sir Ken Robinson and the late Russell Ackoff, are —according to me— in no way at fault. I’m afraid it’s us, the so-called followers. We are the ones who either forget what the concept is all about or we just don’t get it.
There are good reasons for our relapse I guess. For one, the ‘new design education’ consultants are popping up like mushrooms. Some good, some bad and some simply messing with our minds and hearts. Then there are the educational policies —based on cut-backs, but sugarcoated as redesigning concepts. It’s no wonder educators get lost in all this confusion.
The World peace game
And suddenly amongst all this mayhem, someone stands up and reminds you what it’s all about. Someone like John Hunter. With one simple question, he clears the cobwebs and takes you back to where it all began: “What is it that you want to do?”
Your answer to this question sets the template for how you will ‘redesign education’.
Hunter redesigned education in the late 70s with the introduction of his World Peace Game. He succinctly explains, “The World Peace Game is about learning to live and work comfortably in the unknown.”
The players —mind you, the average age is 9(!)— learn among others to overlook short-sighted reactions and impulsive thinking. They learn to solve problems through long-term thinking and in a consequential way. In addition, they learn spontaneous compassion and being human(e).
And the teacher? The teacher learns that he doesn’t have to be in control. He can let go and trust the collective wisdom of his class.
Note: The game by the way is the subject of a new film World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements. I have to say that this is one of the most beautiful TED Talks I’ve seen. In an age of me-me-me and egotistical meritocracy, it’s refreshing —and moving— to see someone acknowledge those who impacted him and made him the acclaimed educator he is today.
What we should take away
What Hunter teaches us is that redesigning education doesn’t start with fancy methods or government policies. It starts with the engaging teacher. One who’s willing and able to share his passion for learning. And one who dares be vulnerable and admit he doesn’t have all the answers.
In his Ideas for modern living: passion, Sir Ken Robinson writes:
“We all have different aptitudes and we have unique passions. The challenge is to find them because it’s in the fusion of both that we live our best lives.”
If this doesn’t nail the concept of Redesigning Education, then I don’t know what will.
The main objective of an educator is to guide the student to his specific aptitudes and his unique passion. That’s all. That’s what John Hunter does. That’s what we should do.
What do you think?
What’s your take on the Redesigning Education concept? How do you think we should go about it? What according to you are the possible ‘snags’ we need to be conscious of? Talk to me. Please share your comments in the section below.
(Source image used: Joop Dorresteijn)
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