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July 16, 2006

Our education system is in a dire situation. Based on 19th century needs, the system has become cluttered, complex, bureaucratic, and most importantly nearly useless. The only reason most people stay in school is because it’s simply it’s much easier to get a well paid job by getting a degree. To get a degree, you need to be accepted into college or university. To get accepted you need to graduate grade school with good grades. And there’s where it begins. Focus shifts from teaching and raising an aware, creative, inspired and capable creature, to advancing to the next grade. It’s not about the child, it’s not about his or her capabilities; it’s about the grades. They have become the one single and most important variable in a student’s school experience.

Lost in Translation

A personal reflection on the Conference held at Harrison Hot Springs Resort on March 7th and 8th 2006 to consider “Promoting a learning Community in British Columbia”, sponsored by the Canadian Council on Learning. Available in both English and French.

A Review of The Unfinished Revolution: learning, human behavior, community and political paradox

July 11, 2005

The first contention of The Unfinished Revolution is simple: humans are born to learn, and learning is what we are better at than any other species. Subsequently, if those working to improve education don’t have a good grasp of where we come from as a species, then it will be difficult to chart a course for where we want to go.

Review: The Road to Whatever: Middle class culture & the crisis of adolescence by Elliott Currie

The main thrust of Currie’s disturbing critique about the alienation of much American youth towards their parents, their schools and the highly competitive atmosphere in which they find themselves trapped, is that being white and affluent is no longer any protection against the perils of adolescence. He is eloquent about his nation’s almost complete denial of the scale of the problem. The arguments he hears from all sides often boil down to, ‘Surely being middle class is the solution, not the problem? It doesn’t happen to our kids, it happens to … well, their kids.’

The History of Education 2000 and the Explanation for the Need for the 21st Century Learning Initiative

May 5, 2005

The Initiative has grown out of the British Education 2000 Trust, and so some understanding of that earlier organization is probably helpful. The Trust was established in 1983 by a group of influential businessmen, academics and community leaders who were convinced that the present structures and methods of education were not “adequately responding to the current and future rates of cultural, social, industrial and technological change.”

Review: The Educated Mind

Review of The Educated Mind: How Cognitive Tools Shape Our Understanding, by Kieran Egan. (Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 1997). Prepared by James D. MacNeil for the 21st Century Initiative.

Towards Creating a Learning Community (Draft)

May 5, 2005

This is a proposal being discussed in England by a community that has gone through an Initiative training program. The document was shared with the Initiative by Colin Kay, Head of the Clarendon School Trowbridge.

Towards an Expanded Vision of Intelligence in India

May 5, 2005

This article first appeared in Vimukt Shiksa, a newsletter published in India by Shikshantar, The Peoples’ Institute for Rethinking Education and Development, and “created to liberate education through the expansion of existing understandings and visions about societal learning.”

Making the Connections, and Closing the Gaps – Is it really that hard?

May 5, 2005

This article was submitted to the Initiative by David Hood of New Zealand. The content is of interest to anyone concerned about the connection between a failure to learn and wasted lives. While debate continues at the political level about exactly who it is policies should be targeted towards, the reality remains that there are […]

Article written by Kevin Hawkins, Head of the Arusha campus of the Moshe International School, Tanzania

May 5, 2005

How do you count a people who have no address, no village or town, no house and not even a fixed location? Just provide two zebras and organise an all night party. At least that’s what the Tanzanian Census officials did recently when faced with the challenge of trying to number the Hadza people. It turns out there are about 800 of them still living in the African Rift Valley around the shores of Lake Eyasi in Northern Tanzania. Living the way humans have lived on this planet since our earliest times. The Hadza live by hunting and gathering – moving as a community where the game and roots dictate and erecting their houses of grass and wood within hours. They love to party – all night raves, singing and dancing (especially when the moon is full) are their forte. It’s a very special treat to be able to lie awake at night within earshot and listen to their songs and drums floating across the night landscape of this amazing country.

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