By Stéphane Vermeulin, TeacherWit Executive
Across twenty years of experiences in the education industry, I have seen children thrive in environments which foster curiosity and innovation. We can cultivate freedom of thoughts and action simply by putting children in the driver's seat. Education institutions and teachers provide the safety and momentum of the car to propel students to drive towards their goals. If the vehicle has an empowering foundation, it can spark long-lasting positive change for the collective good.
Fostering competencies like inquiry thinking through healthy technology integration can empower learners to thrive in all aspects of their lives. That’s why I am building TeacherWit to be a one-stop platform for teachers and education institutions across the globe to explore alternative routes to deliver quality education.
“A strong model of outcomes-based accountability should encourage schools (and teachers) to innovate, give them room to carry out their unique missions and ensure that students are well-served.”
Here are 5 valuable reasons why alternative education frameworks take us closer to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Universal Education.
1. Education is The Most Powerful Weapon To Change The World
Nelson Mandela’s powerful words motivate me to believe systems of education today pave the way for a better tomorrow. I remember meeting Mr. Mandela during a conference in 2002 while I lived in Durban, South Africa. I nicknamed my youngest son Madiba after this inspiring visionary! I hope all young kids like my son imbibe Madiba’s inspiring message:
“The power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for economic success. It can contribute to nation-building and reconciliation.”
To honor Mr. Mandela’s powerful legacy we must sow the seeds for inclusive cultures of education internationally. Constantly revolutionizing teaching processes in line with contemporary lifestyle changes makes academic pedagogy adaptable across ages.
2. Non-Traditional Teaching Methods Instigate Unique Solutions
We are now facing increasingly interconnected wicked problems like natural climate disasters, biodiversity loss, and unprecedented health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. As problems of humanity evolve, so should the new generations' ability to understand, collaborate and innovate solutions.
The traditional education model as it exists can not solve the wicked problems of the modern world. We must enhance our imagination to lead young learners towards discovering tools to build novel societies for themselves and for their children. Thus, I am a proponent of the 4 competency learning framework inspired by the British Columbia Curriculum. Apart from subject specific knowledge, it is imperative for children to learn the competency of thinking and inquiry, creative communication and awareness of socio-personal skills.
3. A Lifelong Learning Mindset Supports Collaboration
Encouraging positive social feedback loops reinforces students’ will to learn and grow outside of education institutions. The core competency of building social capabilities nurtures respectful connections between people and the natural environment. Socially aware and responsible individuals create the fabric for inclusive and vibrant communities.
It all starts with the educator. It is so vital for teachers to be lifelong learners and instill this mindset into their students through socializing. This competency falls into Nelson Mandela’s philosophy of educating to change the foundation of how our world is built beyond economic gain.
4. 92% of Teachers Endorse Mindfulness Education
Mindfulness based self-care develops a healthy self-esteem and relationship with ourselves. We can learn how to accept ourselves in order to grow from the get-go. Creating a new culture of self-confident and empathetic children can improve long-term mental well being and expand ways of thinking. Studies across geographies and cultures have shown a positive impact of cultivating mindfulness as a lifestyle practice in schools.
“ Mindfulness education — lessons on techniques to calm the mind and body — can reduce the negative effects of stress and increase students’ ability to stay engaged, helping them stay on track academically and avoid behavior problems.”
Make time for Mindfulness | Harvard Graduate School of Education
Once our students step out of the world of academia into the “real world”, it is tools like mindfulness which will strengthen and guide their journey through life.
5. Education Gives High ROI Across Generations
Education creates an unparalleled ripple effect across generations giving a high return on investment in all aspects of life. Through out-of-the-box and non-traditional education frameworks we can create important changes in the fabric of our society. We can free the mind through curiosity, play and self-aware inquiry. In fact, the World Bank reports that every extra year of traditional education gives a 9% additional return. Incorporating core competencies outside of subject-specific knowledge can unleash individual potential and create omniscient change across the globe. Every small step educators take to innovate knowledge pathways is a step towards the safety and advancement of humanity.