Part 2 of What Matters in Education? has been published by the Community Works Journal, which supports teaching practices that build community. They’ve been around since 1995. The original title for my piece was “An Unrealistic Proposal.” Now it’s “Considering Technology and the School Experience” (I added the unrealistic bit for this blog).
I. An Unrealistic Proposal
Let’s think BIG: The moral imperative is to focus the K-12 curriculum of tomorrow on 2 large areas: Health and the Environment. End of story.
Health and the Environment is a rich, complex, overarching curriculum that covers history and philosophy, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and all forms of literature and the arts, as well as sociology, economics and political science; it covers the classics (is not Plato about health and the environment – literally and symbolically?). This curriculum connects “learning to social change and fosters modes of critical agency through which people assume responsibility for each other”; morality and ethics are the driving engines.
Our health and the health of the planet are our greatest challenges, but just as significantly surely to affect generations to come if we don’t act now, creatively and with force. A curriculum focused on Health and the Environment is about a long view, not tomorrow’s standardized test scores; it disrupts the move towards authoritarianism.
This curriculum can only be created by a meaningful K-16 collaboration that enables “education hubs” to emerge nation-wide: interdisciplinary centers of study focused on children, first and foremost, with appropriate teachers and mentors, counselors, and medical care up and down the system. Secondly, this new system privileges experiential learning: how to put into practice ideas and theories; how to test what we perceive; how to step away, reflect and describe what we’re doing and how what we’ve accomplished may affect the future.