It is time for a new framework for learning that matches who we are today and where we would like to go as a society. This new paradigm starts with the student-teacher relationship, which has historically been rigid and hierarchical, driven by a belief that the teacher must be an authority at all times, and that students show respect by deferring to a teacher’s wisdom and direction. A pecking order.
But in this digital age, and particularly in the area of technology, students of very young ages are capable of surpassing the knowledge and skills of even the most experienced teachers. Information can now be obtained more widely and democratically. Learners can now easily collaborate and support one another across ages and geographies.
Future Earth Academy students collaborate across ages and interests, facilitated by social-emotional and field mentors, who are also prepared to learn and collaborate. Everyone, from student to mentor, enters the learning relationship expecting roles to shift. Egos have no place. The focus is on building collaborative and facilitative skills across a diverse set of perspectives.
And most importantly, everyone respects the value each member of the group brings to the experience. For example, youth has as much value in a discussion as seniority, because they are two equally valid and useful perspectives.
From Day 1, everyone is striving to know the other as fully and respectfully as possible, with the mindset that all aspects of a person add value to a learning environment. So, regardless of status as student or mentor, collaborative behaviors are the same.
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