How Much Have Our Schools Changed in the Last 100 Years?

I came across something that inspired me this morning. As I procrastinated my long "to-do" list of mother, wife, daughter, and entrepreneurial C.E.O tasks, I was doing what most of us do in 2020 - scrolling through the interweb, purchasing essential items from amazon and thinking about how I really should be meditating right now. Amidst this haze of distracting myself from myself, I accidently connected with an old friend that inspired me.

As I scrolled through Linkedin, I saw a post from AJ Webster, a radical thinker in education that I was lucky enough to work alongside as a teacher circa 2011-13.

Both AJ and I left the traditional classroom setting about 7 years ago - my journey led me to create a startup youth leadership non-profit, Mentor Me Learning. His led him to innovate the traditional classroom by creating the Sycamore School and most recently co-creating a podcast with his equally inspirational wife, Lesley Wake Webster.

Stumbling across his new podcast, Education X.0, is what led me to write today's blog. Listening to this short 20-minute podcast inspired me and reminded me of why I do what I do. Of why I created Mentor Me Learning and why I hustle to lead a team of volunteers, search for potential investors, offer free programming to our youth and continue to figure out a way to make a Mentor Me Learning curriculum accessible to all young people.

In Education X.0, AJ and Lesley lead us through a conversation that focuses on the evolution of education (or lack there of) from Education 1.0, to Education 2.0 and to Education 3.0.

A lot of schools, the more progressive ones, are teaching Education 2.0, but most are stuck in Education 1.0. However, what we really need to be doing is thinking about Education 3.0 & 4.0.

Education 1.0 - Traditional Education that hasn't changed much since about 1890; busy work, memorization, do what I told you because I told you to; don't ask questions
Education 2.0 - Interest-Driven & Project-Based; teacher as a guide or facilitator instead of an all-knowing expert; 4 C's as its primary tenants (Communication, Critical Thinking, Cooperation and Creativity)
Education 3.0 - Learning how to learn in anticipation of knowing that we don't know what we will need to know in 10 yrs.

A lot of us don't think about education from the time we graduate to the time we become parents. Unless you are an educator and then you are so overwhelmed by grading and your huge class load, that you rarely have the time to really think about why you are teaching what you are teaching.

Regardless of where we are on the spectrum, as parents or teachers, we want so badly to do right by our children, that we often times error on the side of tradition rather than what makes sense in our current age of radical technological changes. It is too hard to keep up, to innovate or to try something new. So...what do we do...we lean towards what we did or to what was done to us. We didn't turn out so bad, right? At least traditional education is familiar. Plus, questioning traditional education could label us as radicals, ostracize us from our peers or even worse...jeopardize our children's development and future.

Essential or Traditional Education - "I read Romeo & Juliet, so you have to too"; "It's a right of passage to be bored and not enjoy school"

I want to give a special shout-out to AJ Webster and Lesley Lake Webster for reminding me of why when I first read Marching Off the Map, Dumbing us Down and watched Sir Ken's Animation on Changing Education Paradigms I was so inspired. (two books and one video short that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND to all parents and teachers)

I look forward to listening to future episodes of the Education X.0 Podcast and to be inspired by my once-upon-a-time colleague and lunch room confidant, AJ Webster. And if you are a person even mildly interested in learning why schools are how they are and reimagining what they could be, then I highly recommend that you check out the podcast too.

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