Albert Einstein famously noted that we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. As our children are being influenced by more and more outside forces that are beyond our control, we cannot fall into this trap of trying to impose an approach to education that is arguably obsolete for many of our youths.
It simply does not work. Tweaking the system is not enough. We need an absolute paradigm shift. I believe the shift we need is best summed up by writer and educator John Holt from his 1967 book, “How Children Learn.” Holt writes, “We do things backwards. We think in terms of getting a skill first, and then finding useful and interesting things to do with it. The sensible way, the best way, is to start with something worth doing, and then, moved by a strong desire to do it, get whatever skills are needed.”
We learn best by doing things that matter to us and to our community. There is no shortage of real work that needs to be done, and the motivation is already there.
Let’s make “something worth doing” the mantra that guides and transforms our schools.