School of the Future: Know Thyself

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To survive and thrive in our Age of Accelerations, school needs to double down—no, triple down—on helping learners to explore four questions:

  1. Who am I?

  2. Who are we?

  3. What matters to me?*

  4. What am I going to do about it?*

Regarding the first question, Yuval Noah Harari offers this formulation in 21 Lessons for the 21st Century:

“By the middle of the twenty-first century, accelerating change plus longer life spans will make this traditional model [life as a brief period of learning followed by a lifetime of work] obsolete. Life will come apart at the seams, and there will be less and less continuity between different periods of life. ‘Who am I?’ will be a more urgent and complicated question than ever before. […]

“How do you live in a world where profound uncertainty is not a bug but a feature? […]

“To succeed at such a daunting task, you will need to work very hard at getting to know your operating system better—to know what you are and what you want from life. This is, of course, the oldest advice in the book: know thyself.”

Schools of the Past and the Present devote 99.9% of the curriculum to asking kids to know stuff and to develop skills.

The School of the Future will devote a significant chunk of the curriculum to asking kids to know themselves.

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*Credit for the elegance of these questions goes to Annie Makela, Founding Director of the Scott Center for Social Entrepreneurship at the Hillbrook School.

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