At Wisdom Projects, Inc., we are constantly asking how we can create a community of care and a context for liberation in our learning spaces. As a part of this inquiry, we are extending an invitation to educators, thought leaders, and community activists to participate in the first cohort of the Reimagining Education Collective, a year-long program to share, learn, and create new ideas and practices to reimagine education for an age of new possibilities and peril, transformation and transition.
Our world today is beset with seemingly disparate crises that range from climate change to economic and racial inequality to geopolitical upheaval. Our crises are at once global and intensely personal for our children, leading to myriad mental health problems along with the global climate crisis. While complex and varied, all of these problems can be related to the core values that our children are taught in the common classroom: the values of independence, competition, isolation, and disconnection.
An education doesn’t merely provide a child with information and skills; it offers a worldview that is understood by the subtle narratives and practices that shape the classroom and the life of the child. In today’s classroom, individuals are emphasized over relationships. The conventional approach to learning has been through a deficit narrative, a story that emphasizes what the child lacks, rather than an asset narrative, emphasizing the gifts and wisdom that each child brings. These values are not merely conveyed explicitly through content and curriculum, but also unconsciously through a symbol and story.
While we do recognize the challenges facing humanity in today’s world, our focus is on building connections, with the belief that solutions arise not through “problem solving” but organically through deepening relationships. We are approaching the concept of education in the broadest sense–not merely as something that happens in schools, but as the way a culture conveys its values, a process that occurs in many contexts, from the classroom to the forest to the street corner.