I found this quote on my twitter-feed yesterday and then realized I had the most perfect answer pinned to my profile: a ted talk by no other than Sir Ken Robinson. With his eloquence and British humor Robinson’s message is always music to my ears. All my core beliefs about education could be condensed on the 17-minute clip.
With the same urgency we are worried about changing the trajectory of global warming and the devastating effects climate change has brought all over the world, we need to start thinking that our human communities and our survival as species is also being threatened by our lack of solutions and adaptation to our ever changing environment.
Dinosaurs, dodos and mammoths, to name a few, have all extinct, yet the world keeps going round and round. I heard John Liu (@Johndliu) once comment on how new plants break the concrete of inhabited cities after a war, and how organic life grows as long as we don’t tamper with it. In the era of paradigm changes one of them is that at this moment in history we have an urgency not to save our planet but to save our species. The world as we know it will re-generate. I might take thousands or even millions of years but it somehow, as any other complex system, manages to find its balance sooner or later. Our planet has managed to cool off and warm up over the years and most likely it will do it again; however we as a human race might not be there to witness such changes.
So, what is the purpose of education in this new scenario? What is the role of a teacher?
In the same way natural resources are hidden and we have to generate the conditions for them to surface or be useful, natural talents are also lying deep inside each person. When a child goes to school he or she is already inclined to certain activities or topics that they find interesting and fill their spirit. Many times they don’t have the avenue or expressive abilities to explain what they like and why. Other times, they are going throw a discovery period to find those things they are passionate about and make them happy.
Educator’s main goal should be to assist in both the guidance to discovery of learners’ talents as well as creating the necessary conditions for such talents to occur, to flourish, to be developed and to contribute positively to our community. An educator of the 21st century is an engineer of talent.