We are becoming teachers who radiate richness of life, kindness, creativity and problem-solving skills throughout the world, by way of our student’s achievements after they graduate.
We can achieve student success in life beyond school by saturating every action with our core values of fascination with the world, passion-driven persistence, and celebrating individual strengths.
Civilization is a race between education and catastrophe – H.G. Wells
For your classroom, you are the education system – Sir Ken Robinson
What works for kids
- Project-based learning
- Integrated curriculum
- Big picture learning: Students learn crucial life skills by working inside the community, outside the walls of the school.
- Self-directed, curiosity-fueled, collaborative exploration of individual strengths and interests
- Democratized classrooms
- Curiosity, grit and character
Young people focus on the future, because that is the place they will live more than anyone else. So they are quick to realize whether schooling is relevant to them. If not, they may drop out.\
Here’s what will be increasingly relevant to our world and culture in the near future.
- Likeability. As Neil Gaiman famously said in his commencement speech “Make Good Art”, to hang on to any job, you only need two out of three of these skills: 1) Get along well with others, 2) Always deliver your work on time and 3) Be really good at what you do. Only the first two are skills that you can apply to any job in the world.
- Passion and Curiosity. If you aren’t obsessed with something, everyone knows you will flame out. People want to work with passionate people whenever possible. It almost doesn’t matter what you are passionate about, because increasingly you can find a market for it.
- Creativity. Make something new.
- Leadership. I believe everyone can, and should, become a leader in their world.
- Character. Trust and reputation are worth more than gold in a world of a transparent global culture. In the future, your reputation will follow you everywhere.
- Collaboration. Almost anything that matters will be a product of collaboration. What you have accomplished with others recently is your passport to financial security.
- Critical thinking. In a world of information overload, students must design their information filters while in school. When you don’t know who to believe, you believe no one, and stop learning.
- Comfort with uncertainty. The only constant is change, except that change is accelerating. Students must become both strong and resilient to any and all perturbations, to bend with change instead of breaking, to ride the waves of change instead of being drowned in them, and to bounce back from setbacks instead of getting stuck.
- Uniqueness. I think uniqueness is perhaps the most under-appreciated life skill for the future, and helps people win in the world of “winner-take-all” economics, a fundamental property of a global, connected world. Being weird is a skill you can develop. We’re wired to want to fit in, but winner-take-all dynamics make weirdness extremely adaptive. People are always looking to hire the best, be around the best, talk with the best, and ignore the rest. If you are weird enough, not only will you be the best, you might be the only expert in your field.
Obviously, literacy and numeracy are fundamental here, and we will integrate life skills education with language arts, math, science, humanities, arts and
I am seeking what works best for students, for learning, in the world. I’m interviewing the best teachers, learning from history, and sharing my analysis from books steeped in research and experience.
I’m designing a classroom from the ground up, a class that works for students. More than just accumulating knowledge, we will make things, build skills and relationships, and solve real-world problems while still in school.
I was an outstanding student. Yet academia was a retreat from life rather than an introduction to it, for me and my friends. Many fared worse. Some better.
I teach math. But really, I teach curiosity, character, collaboration, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Students aren’t learning what they need to know. This is a blog about teachers who are taking the initiative to change that.
My Teaching Philosophy
We’re collaborating as teachers to use math class and science class and English class and History class to help students to:
- Create value for other people
- Make things
- Think independently
- Lead and inspire others
- Persist with worthwhile pursuits despite difficulty and setbacks
- Express themselves passionately and authentically
If you wish to share this journey, subscribe for free. I’ll send reviews of books on innovation in education, and I’ll share my successes and failures in the classroom.