“Leadership requires two things: a vision of the world that does not yet exist and the ability to communicate it.”
― Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
Descartes did us all a disservice with “I think, therefore I am.”
We created a whole education system treating our children as inputs instead of the perfect seeds they are.
I didn’t know that having a unique vision of education would make me a leader. I didn’t even know that I had a unique vision.
My unique vision of education is to help guide children into happy people, focusing in the beginning on emotional intelligence and self-awareness, having an appreciation of beauty, to learn how to learn for the sake of learning, and to take responsibility for your life that is the true gift to the world.
I had no idea that this could be controversial and I had no idea that this would one day become what everyone needs.
Through the conceit of hindsight*, I can say “I told you so.”
And hindsight is 20/20. (And especially in 2020).
I was in my bubble with my kids for a decade focusing on how I could support them and their growth- wondering and researching the skills I needed them to practice with me over the long-term like communicating including listening, empathizing, and articulating how they feel and what they need, saying sorry and how to forgive.
I stopped seeing education in terms of school years, and instead, focused on developmental phases. I read Steiner, Piaget, Vygotsky. Then I observed all five of my children. They moved through each developmental phase of growth (within 1-2 years of what was expected) and on cue, certain capacities emerged.
A caveat: these capacities emerged through guided challenges when the child felt safe, supported, and happy.
This pandemic opened my eyes even more. Educational research, including my own, has turned its attention to SEL – social-emotional learning. Everyone is looking for papers to explore methods, models, and modalities.
According to Panorama Education (an SEL survey service):
Social-emotional learning (SEL) describes the mindsets, skills, attitudes, and feelings that help students succeed in school, career, and life. At its core, SEL focuses on students’ fundamental needs for motivation, social connectedness, and self-regulation as prerequisites for learning. Educators may also refer to SEL “non-cognitive skills,” “soft skills,” “21st century skills,” “character strengths,” and “whole child development.”
Social-emotional learning is an important part of a well-rounded education. A 2017 meta-analysis from CASEL (the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) shows that investment in SEL has led to improved classroom behavior, better stress management, and 13 percent gains in academics.
How do children relate to themselves and each other in terms of how they feel?
It’s exciting to see what I have known intuitively come to the forefront during these times. This was all revolutionary before this year. We now see that our fast food industrial model does not prioritize the support of child’s emotional intelligence.
My vision doesn’t include some grand revolution replacing one system with another system. It started with asking what works. It started in my home with my children who received first and foremost “SEL” support to continue to love and trust the world around them. My conceit comes from seeing my grown children, and some of the children I have had the pleasure of guiding for two years, take responsibility for their learning and how Life greets them.
*I first came across the lovely term, “Conceit of Hindsight,” as the title of a section in Richard Dawkin’s book, The Ancestor’s Tale.