Education is more than just an organized system of learning. Education should expand our consciousness, capabilities, sensitivities, and cultural understanding. It should enlarge our worldview. As we all live in two worlds—the world within you that exists only because you do, and the world around you—the core purpose of education is to enable students to understand both worlds.
In today’s climate, there is also a new and urgent challenge: to provide forms of education that engage young people with the global-economic issues of environmental well-being.
Children love to learn, they do it naturally; many have a hard time with education, and some have big problems with school.
Young people need to know, understand, and be able to do certain things. As a result, many do not fit in the assumptions of compulsory education.
There are a few terms that are often confused or used interchangeably—“learning,” “education,” “training,” and “school”—but there are important differences between them. It is vital that we differentiate these terms: Children love to learn, they do it naturally; many have a hard time with education, and some have big problems with school.
The conventional curriculum is based on a collection of separate subjects. These are prioritized according to beliefs around the limited understanding of intelligence we discussed in the previous chapter, as well as what is deemed to be important later in life. The idea of “subjects” suggests that each subject, whether mathematics, science, art, or language, stands completely separate from all the other subjects. This is problematic, and as we later find out, incorrect as well.
The concept of disciplines brings us to a better starting point when planning the curriculum, which is to ask what students should know and be able to do as a result of their education.
The four purposes suggest eight core competencies that if properly integrated into education, will equip students who leave school to engage in the economic, cultural, social, and personal challenges they will inevitably face in their lives.
These competencies are curiosity, creativity, criticism, communication, collaboration, compassion, composure, and citizenship.
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