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Re-Imagine Schools

Revisiting Education in the 21st Century
Global Education Model of Schooling
All change begins with a thought. If we were to re-imagine education in the 21st century what its tenets be?
Education is the most complex and challenging issue of our times. It is not just a local or a national concern but a subject of great deliberation worldwide. Even as the world has witnessed vast advances towards globalization and technology makes life much easier, th education remains seeped in its 19 century objectives with old ethics intact – children divided by age into career streams being prepared, as it were, for the manufacturing world. Therefore, current education, like an old medicine with an expired date, has at best an uncertain outcome.
Education is the most complex and challenging issue of our times. It is not just a local or a national concern but a subject of great deliberation worldwide. Even as the world has witnessed vast advances towards globalization and technology makes life much easier, th education remains seeped in its 19 century objectives with old ethics intact – children divided by age into career streams being prepared, as it were, for the manufacturing world. Therefore, current education, like an old medicine with an expired date, has at best an uncertain
Surely, the change we need is far more than reduce the weight of our children's school bag, replace a book or two, bring in the multiple intelligences or better technology, and train our teachers in methods to accelerate learning?
Accelerate learning to what end? Could we not organize education far better in order to bring out the best and highest in human nobility, to nurture the human spirit to create a vastly better world at the same time?
A change in educational direction is urgently needed, not just some tinkering changes, piece-meal approaches and add-ons to an existing system based on material ethics, the goals of which are at odds with st the needs of the 21 century.
Having been fortunate enough to grow up into a family of 'world class' educators, get a 'world class' education myself, having had the fortune to travel far and wide to study education in 34 countries and work on education policy at the 'best policy institution in the world', I have been forced to think hard as to why after a 'good' education, youth all over the
world feel so much hopelessness and lack of direction.
What has guided my efforts are Baha'u'llah's words: “Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can alone cause it to reveal its treasures and enable mankind to benefit therefrom.” This inspired me to come up with 'GEMS—The Global Education Model of Schooling' and along with my colleague Dr Robert J Saunders, I founded the Council for Global Education in Washington, DC. First and foremost, GEMS is a new way of thinking and conceptualising education. Indeed, every child is a mine rich in gems of inestimable value.
Through education, we can unravel the gems hidden in each child and enable education to become, at the same time, an instrument of profound social transformation. TS Eliot once wrote: “It is in fact a part of the function of education to help us escape from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our own time.”

Global Education
Four Essential Building Blocks
These thoughts led me to formulate a new framework of education. One may think of this new education as a new ‘building’ constructed on a new foundation made of these Four Essential Building Blocks of Education in the 21st century: Universal  Values (V). Global Understanding (U).
Excellence in All Things (E) and Service to Humanity (S). VUES redefine what we mean when we talk of a ‘good’ education. It helps us to think in fresh ways about education.
We encourage schools to check how much to the agenda presented below is what they are already do and what could they do more...
Global Education Model of Schooling
Four Essential Building Blocks of Education in the 21st Century
V – Universal Values
are the spiritual qualities and natural instincts that we nurture in our children.
Are we doing an adequate job of instilling attitudes, values and habits of life so needed today? While moral education is no longer a subject in many schools nationwide, are our morning assemblies and all the rest that we do to nurture values, enough of an antidote against moral decline in our society? Could we do more to mark values not only integral but also the most important aspects of what our school do, making ‘good’ equally important, if not more important that ‘smart’.
U - Global Understanding
Is creating a love the other human beings and all living things, recognizing the preciousness of life and taking children beyond narrow thinking about caste, country and colour.
Are we installing a love for existence, the preciousness of life, and the fundamental recognition that we are part of one, single human race? Do we show our children, for example, the pictures of the earth from above, not just as a fact to be committed to memory but in order to witness how we are a part of one global ethos? Do we really help our children examine the deeper aspects of life, watch the night  sky, hear the birds, smell the flower, learn about the diversity and beauty of would cultures and languages and appreciate the wonder and beauty of the universe and the importance of human life?
E- Excellence in All Things
means a) teaching children to do their best always and strive for perfection and beauty. b) recognise potential of every child in a class to become a successful member of a family, society and the world, and c) nurture every child’s potential to become the best s/he can possibly be.
Do we in fact bring out the best in every child, or could we do more? How could we reorganise learning so as to create an intrinsic desire to learn, to do one’s best, to appreciate beauty and perfection in all one does? Do we really expect human potential to go beyond the narrow confines of exam success, which may are may not correlate well with success in life? Then what are the qualities and outcomes that we teach to, and what do we mean by human excellence?
S- Service to Humanity
means a) service is not only charity but a way of life we instil during the  process of education, so that in all that our children do, they do so in a spirit of education, so that in all that our children do, they do so in a spirit of service to others and as a gift to GOD almighty, and b) go beyond narrow definitions based on a material perspective of success to create leaders of thought and action who become proactive agents of social transformation, conscious thinkers and doers, conscious thinkers and doers.  Do we really endorse a child’s natural empathy we see so present in the little ones, nurture well our children’s desire to contribute and to serve as they head towards adolescence and into a life of service?

Making the Tunnel of Learning into
A Tunnel of Enlightenment...
The important question is: 'Can we convert this Tunnel of Learning, the present educational system, into a Tunnel of Enlightenment?' What are the outcomes we seek from human potential and the educational process? How do we re-organise educational content, its delivery and the environment to make every child both 'good' and 'smart', preserve the self-esteem, and bring out the gems hidden in each one? Indeed, what do we need to do differently in order to
create a new and different reality for our children?
Indeed, how do we re-imagine@school assessments, materials, processes, attitudes, behaviour and training of teachers? How do we orient our staff and ourselves? What syllabus and curriculum do we adopt at each stage of development, pre-primary, primary, middle and senior? What single or mixed age class settings help our children best at any point in time? Which of the new and varied teaching methods do we adopt when, for example, enquiry based learning, multiple intelligences, constructivism, cooperative learning, thematic work, etc.?
Indeed, what we want as outcomes should help us define and refine what we implement of the innovations already out there, how we integrate the research, and what innovations we make of our own.

Reconstructing Education
Together We Can!
All these thoughts and experiences led me to begin to reconstruct with my colleagues, mentors and friends, the premise of a new education. What we desperately need is a new education based on a new set of ethics and governed by a new set of principles more st suited to the needs of the 21 century.
In particular, we need to empower ALL our children, not just a few. With even as few as 20 children to a class (we rarely have that!), teachers are hard pressed to personalize learning for the individual child. Differentiated teaching is hard to manage in the west, even with more help.
Can a teacher with 20 or more children in a class personalize learning for the individual child or is this an oxymoron? A few years ago, I began to look more deeply into the building block of Excellence in All Things. The experimental underpinnings of a personalised empowerment programme for ALL our children began in Aslandsskoli, afnarfjordur, Iceland, in 2000. It was the beginning of experimentation with personalised learning with the help of Bodvar Jonsson, Steinunn Gudnadottir and other great folks in Iceland with whom I began Iceland's first two charter schools.
Present day education is a barren field, rife with possibilities for anyone who wants to make a difference. If we want a new reality in education, we need to do things differently. Let us re-imagine education at school.
Indeed, we want a metamorphosis in education. From the cocoon, a butterfly must emerge!

GEMS: An Upside Down Model of Education
What Else Can We Do?
Unless we change direction, we are unlikely to achieve the best possible outcome from education. What we need is an Upside Down Model of Education in which we reorganize priorities in exactly the opposite direction to what they have been in the past, for example:
Make preschool education the most important, not senior education as it is today.
Pay preschool teachers the same or more than teachers of other grades. If attitudes towards life and learning are both determined by early childhood, we need to give more importance to the education of the littlest of our lot. The job of a preschool teacher is far more complex when correctly undertaken, so we need to train them better and pay them more.
Make becoming 'good' more important than becoming 'smart'. Surely, the outer form of a tree is only as strong as its inner roots. The schools that focus on a higher vision often produce better academic results than those that focus primarily on academic accomplishment.
Instead of competition with others, make the premise of education and educational assessment competition with oneself!
Instead of teaching to class dynamics, think of how to address the individual needs of each child and engage them differently.
Instead of ages and one-size-fits-all dynamics, think of how to reorganise teaching so as to address the varied competencies, skills and stages of every child’s development.
Instead of single-aged classes, think how to get children to work in multiple ages some of the time each week, if not more.
Help teacher dominated classrooms convert to teacher facilitated, run in partnership with the children.
From fixed blueprint approaches to flexible timetables that accommodate changing needs, interests and priorities and that tap into a child's teachable moments.
10. To build a programme of both support and challenge for the individual child, create intrinsic motivation to succeed, away from external motivators that we so often use.
11. Instead of viewing schools as providers of content, to see them as providers of service.
12. Instead of teaching by rote, think of creative ways to engage all children in a process of discovery by themselves, learning by doing and through experimentation.
13. Instead of keeping parents out of the door, embrace the effective involvement of both parents and the community.
14. Instead of educating just the children, educate also the parents and society at large so that consistent messages can be given at home and at school.
15. A school must be an ideal form of society, a lighthouse, where standards are both set and met and exemplary behaviour is the norm, as schools are the mirror to the future. Let not the schools become mirrors to the present!
Re-Imagine Assessments
Dynamic Assessments & Study Solutions
when progress is the goak...
Perbooks Perfect Yourself!
Personalised Study Materials
Target Plus Mocks & Assessments
that form, not just inform...
Re-Imagine Study Materials
Maxim Classbooks
Student Friendly Textbooks
Sure Success
When every mark matters!
Re-Imagine Schools
Nurture School Affiliate
Next Gen School
Character Counts!
Spoken English, Personality Development and
Moral Education Combined
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