The School of Life is a very inspiring idea that launched a few years ago and aims at a very simple goal: let’s learn from each other, always.
I borrow the name as the title of this post to gather a few of my thoughts on how I reckon a school of the future could be.
a. There are many discussions around how long school time should be. Some people believe that it should occupy less time, as kids should have more time to spend with their families, playing or doing other extra-curricular activities. Some say that it should be longer; School should include all above plus should provide parents with the flexibility to have their careers, their personal lives and plans. Even though I see pros and cons in each, I think the question is wrong all together: if you ask a kid whether he/she would like longer school time, I am certain at least an 80% would say no. Because no matter how innovative, technological advanced school is, it will always be in kids’ mind as “school”. That something between “my bed and my playground with my friends”. It is like asking someone if he/she would like his/her steak medium or well-done, without asking first if they eat meat. We need a step back: duration and technologically advanced or not is not the first question. The first question is: what is education for and the one after it is: how do envision that objective been fulfilled?
b. “What is Education for” is an old question. Unanswered though, again. And that is a good thing, because it is one of these issues that needs constant challenging and questioning. Even though it may sound too philosophical and counterproductive it is absolutely necessary to try and define the kind of skills and characteristics the next generations need to have, as global citizens and members of their local communities. Therefore, there is a greater need for more minds to come together to formulate something; people from all aspects of life: parents, students, professors, politicians, business, philosophers, poets, singers, dancers, doctors, farmers etc etc Education has been too much only for the educators. It is time that it opens up to the broader community in an authentic and holistic way.
c. I love the work that Vittra is doing with schools in Sweden and Future Library project, which tries to re-imagine the way that libraries are. The vision of both is very close. Even the way that they envision the School and the Library of the future. literature says that the physical learning environment is as important as all other elements. A place that enhances learning, collaboration, expression of self, innovation and creativity is naturally more effective. So, what if the school of the future was the learning and cocreating space of the community, which would also be flexible to adopt not only technology but also the participation of other members that can take part in the process, depending on the topic.
d. Finally, the curiosity to learn and creativity are much more useful skills than any expertise and knowledge. And these skills have no age, i.e. there is no age that such skills will not be necessary. So, for me, school, in some formal form, should continue for ever. Is it possible in our busy schedules? One hour a week is not possible you think? For the busiest man on the earth, it absolutely is.
On a separate post I will share a few thoughts around the “what” should be taught.