CONNECTING THE DOTS: The way we educate children lies at the heart of our culture, our economy, our ecology – our schools both mirror our society and reliably reproduce it into the future. Schools as we know them today are generating a world with vast extremes of wealth and poverty, a world with a devastating impact on natural ecosystems, a world in which family breakdown and individual psychological distress are epidemic. Yet very few people question whether these same schools are the ideal vehicle for solving the problems that we face. Some of the videos below show us what we can learn from other cultures’ ways of learning about and understanding the world; others show us the ways our current school system is failing to support the creativity and diversity we will need to face the challenges of the 21st century. We encourage you to watch the videos together and connect the dots for yourself: how can we re-imagine learning and culture in a way that supports individual creativity, cultural diversity, economic justice, and a sustainable relationship to the environment?
Changing Education Paradigms
in this brilliant talk, Sir Ken Robinson gives a brief history of the structural features of institutional "factory" schooling and discusses how they must change if we want to unshackle our children's creativity to cope with the demands of the coming century.
Iskay Yachay: Two Kinds of Knowledge
Andean parents and teachers discuss the ways in which modern schooling has brought negative changes to their relationships and their community, and what they are doing to take back their culture and self-respect. A project of PRATEC, the Proyecto Andino de Tecnologías Campesinas.
A Thousand Suns
This beautiful 28-minute film from The Global Oneness Project tells the story of the Gamo Highlands of the African Rift Valley and the worldview held by the people of the region. The film "explores the modern world's untenable sense of separation from and superiority over nature and how the interconnected worldview of the Gamo people is fundamental in achieving long-term sustainability, both in the region and beyond."
The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World
In this fascinating talk, psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist argues that Western culture has become strongly biased over the last 500 years toward the left-brain tendency to mechanical, abstract, narrowly focused thinking and has lost the necessary balance with the right-brain capacity for intuition, compassion, and a broadly focused, holistic understanding of a living world. In imposing our education system on other cultures, are we imposing our own loss of balance?
Bunker Roy: Learning from a barefoot movement
Barefoot College turns the school model on its head by teaching illiterate adult women and men useful hands-on skills like basic dentistry and medical care and how to build low-tech solar panels. What new learning structures could we create if we moved beyond the one-size-fits all model and really looked at the skills and knowledge that would enhance people's lives?
Mereana Taki: Maori views on learning
Indigenous educator Mereana Taki shares Maori views of learning, intelligence, and child development In this short video clip from the "Learning to Read the World Through Other Eyes" curriculum project. To access the curriculum free online or view other videos, please click here:
Edward Carr: Delivering Development
In this interview, Carr challenges current thinking about “development,” and tells how his work in Africa led him to realize that, “My understanding of what poverty meant was garbage…. We are fundamentally misunderstanding what’s happening for most people living in rural areas in the developing world.”
Sir Ken Robinson asks: ”Do schools kill creativity?”
One of the most popular TED talks of all time, this 18-minute speech uses humor and insight into the myriad varieties of human intelligence to challenge the structure of schooling as we know it and the damage it does to our children and their innate brilliance.
Sugata Mitra: New experiments in self-teaching
Sugata Mitra's famous "Hole in the Wall" experiments demonstrated that illiterate street children in India can teach each other to use computer technology without adult control or instruction. An important point to notice is the fluidity with which mixed-age groups of children learn collaboratively –– a vital avenue for learning in traditional societies which is short-circuited by age-segregated adult-controlled classrooms.
Bring on the learning revolution
In a follow-up to his previous talk, Sir Ken Robinson calls for a revolution in the ways we think about human intelligence and in what we must do to foster its growth.
We Are the People We’ve Been Waiting For
This film from the UK looks at several children who do not thrive in conventional schooling for a variety of reasons, and asks how we can bring the best out in each child instead of measuring them against a one-size-fits-all standard and labelling them as failures. For more information or to request a free DVD:
Wade Davis: The ethnosphere and why it matters for our survival
Davis makes a plea for human diversity and explains why it may be as important for survival of life on earth as biological diversity – although it is being destroyed at many times the rate.