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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Where Are You Going?

I experienced several philosophy classes in college and attended a summer-long institute at Harvard on educational philosophy. I also enjoy reading inspiring quotes that can serve as a guide along life's journey. That said, I often find myself referring to the great author Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) for advice.

Here's a quote from his book, Oh, The Places You'll Go.

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy
who'll decide where to go.

Our school does not, and should not, tell our learners what path they could or should take in life. Instead, our purpose is focused on equipping them with the knowledge, skills and experiences that will assist them in whatever direction their journey takes. We must promote the conditions and opportunities for our learners, at all stages and ages, to sustain their dreams and nurture their hopes throughout their time with us.

Few can accurately forecast the future, whether it's measured in years or decades. Who knew thirty years ago that we would be able to immediately connect with others thousands of miles away via the Internet, or use phones (hand held phones no less) to capture immediate pictures of life events and send them on to others, or access incredible amounts of information from vast resources on the world wide web? I didn't (or else I would be routinely having lunch with people like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Warren Buffet).

Instead of streamlining graduates toward specific fields of study or occupations, we have to help them construct the vehicle they need to travel to their personal goals in a rapidly changing world where 20% of the jobs of today did not even exist in the marketplace of ten years ago. I would ask any adult who has been in the workforce for more than ten years to examine their current responsibilities and determine how much they have changed in that time period due to technology or other innovations and practices.

The task of preparing learners requires a broad array of skills and experiences that should not be limited by a curriculum suffering from inadequate financial support at the state and federal levels, or a curriculum narrowed by special interest groups (near and far) or corporations intent on defining learning experiences that reflect a politically motivated focus. Most importantly, schools must prepare graduates to be life-long learners, since the world of work will continue to change at an accelerated pace across a globe that has become more and more interdependent.

Where are you going?

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