Memo from the “Creating Our Best Future” Dept.: As a learning innovator I see widely divergent gestures toward the nurturing of learning across education, gestures that have significant implications throughout society. And in scanning the education landscape my emotions in the past year swung from arm-pumping enthusiasm to head-shaking discouragement.
With this in mind and heart, below I offer what I consider the most inspiring educational gestures and trends to get behind in 2014:
– Continue pressing for the introduction of Personalized Learning at an educational institution near you. This genie’s out of the bottle folks and can’t be re-corked. There is simply overwhelming evidence that humans of all ages, sensibilities and competencies learn uniquely and more effectively when each of us is supported in learning beyond the artificial parameters imposed by standardized education. Viva SelfDesign, Self-Directed Learning, Informal Learning, the Makers Movement, DIY, Extended Learning Opportunities, and more.
– Acknowledge and stoke the incredible power of neuroplasticity. We can heal, move beyond previously-conceived limitations, and we can compensate very adequately for (too-often mis-perceived) disabilities. Thanks to Temple Grandin, researchers like Scott Barry Kaufman (author, Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined) and countless bloggers whose stories of perseverance and achievement-in-the-face-of-misguided-labelling (as learning disabled) are as inspiring as they are compelling.
– Embrace the tenets of Positive Psychology that contribute to optimizing learning and personal wellness. The revolution begun 15 years ago by Dr. Martin Seligman has come to provide us with the tools and mindsets to live in service of inspired self-conception and balance and shed the false and damaging expectations of countless years of misguided beliefs about who “we really are”. What’s your most-empowering story and how can you bring it into full awareness and act upon it? Live it, breathe it, dwell in it, as I say in my book Learn Your Way! And, as educators, help your students live into this, too.
These will help make 2014 a very memorable Year of Learning Dangerously. And may you and your family live and learn well in the new year. With luck, I will catch up with you on the trail.