Too often we underrate our brains and our intelligence. Formal education can become such a complicated, self-conscious and over-regulated activity that learning is widely regarded as something difficult that the brain would rather not do. That is wrong, for learning is the brain’s primary function, its constant concern, and we all become restless and frustrated […]
No child is too poor or of too humble birth to go to school. An education is the right of every person; those who are less bright need instruction to lift them out of their ignorance, whilst those with an inquiring mind need the discipline of education lest they be tempted to idleness.1 As […]
Children need to learn to think, to make connections, to work together, to take risks, to discover their own talents. They need to read about all kinds of things and explore different media. They need a curriculum that is broad, balanced and differentiated.1 Born in 1564, and so thirty years younger than his […]
Children’s search for meaning starts young. Children who are already anxious to make sense of issues that matter to them in their own private lives, who come to formal schooling keen and enthusiastic to use whatever it can offer them to help meet their personal objectives. It is not the other way round. The greatest […]
Good evening. It is both an honour and a pleasure to be invited to give this lecture. I do so with some trepidation. I know I am easily carried away with my enthusiasm! Some years ago my wife and I were on a Sunday afternoon walk with our three sons. Our youngest, Tom, who was […]
The Initiative’s Policy Paper from November 1998 is the most detailed description of our work and is necessary reading for anyone interested the ideas and research accumulated by the Initiative. The document is available as a PDF file.
“Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river. The current of the river swept silently over them all- young and old, rich and poor, good and evil – the current going its own way, knowing only its own crystal self. Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current was what each had learned from birth. But one creature said at last: ‘I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom.’ The other creatures laughed and said: ‘Fool, let go and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom. But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks. Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom and he was bruised and hurt no more.”
An incomplete, but most interesting paper, challenging the structure of schooling
This article has exercised a great influence on the 21st Century Learning Initiative’s thinking. It originally appeared in the Winter, 1991 issue of American Educator, the journal of The American Federation of Teachers, and is reprinted here with permission.
To fund the Initiative applications had to be written to a variety of sponsors
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