By Will Stanton
All human beings are born creators. If you don’t believe me, I urge you to recall when you were a child. Didn’t you love to paint and dance and sing? Didn’t you love to indulge in imaginary worlds you conjured up in your head? Children are naturally creative. It’s one of the things that makes us human. The problem is we’ve been cultured out of our creativity as we’ve grown older. The problem is we have been educated.
The education system is due for a major paradigm shift. For too long, it has been stuck in the dark ages. Teachers still stand at the front of the classroom and deliver information, much of it meaningless in the whole scheme of things. Schools encourage competition, conformity, obedience and standardization, while also engaging in the suppression of our natural, creative impulses and critical thinking faculties. Children are moulded and conditioned via the factory model of education to be unquestioning worker bees in a system that does not care for human progress. As a result, our species is stagnating. In order to reach the next stage of our evolution, the education system must undergo a revolution of its own.
Buckminster Fuller once said, ‘You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.’
The Six Dimension Model
Around ten months ago I had a profound and very sudden awakening brought on by the realization that humanity was on a collision course with itself. It was at this point that I decided I was going to dedicate my life to changing the education system. Like Fuller, I thought it was much more pragmatic to wipe the slate clean and start over than to try and patch up the leaks of the old system, so I came up with what I call The Six Dimension Model.
In no particular order, these six dimensions are Self-Discovery, Inquiry, Sustainability, Innovation, Communication, and Empathy.
The first of the six dimensions focuses on the internal and personal growth of the individual child. Children will have access to all the avenues of discovery they desire, from artistic and aesthetic practices to sports, outdoor activities and everything else in between.
Creative play will be a part of every day, and students will be given free reign over a wide range of creative tools and resources with which to draw, build, invent, compose, design, imagine, and experiment to their heart’s content. Teachers will take the time to get to know each child on a personal level, and will make every effort to nurture and unearth each child’s natural abilities, passions and interests.
Children of all ages will take part in meditation and mindfulness practices to help them align with the essence of who they are and assist them in finding the path they wish to take with their lives. This will not be a mandatory practice, but instead will be something the school system highly encourages as a tool for self-discovery.
This dimension is all about providing learners with the tools and resources to be completely independent critical thinkers, and to discern information through an investigative approach. The role of the teacher will shift from an information dictator to a facilitator of open dialogue. Traditional teaching methods will make way for more Socratic-style mentoring, which involves probing and challenging students through a process of open-ended questioning. Socratic mentoring is named after the Athenian philosopher, Socrates, who wisely said, ‘I cannot teach anybody anything – I can only make them think.’
Schools will not teach a single version of history. Instead, children will investigate the evidence from a number of different perspectives, and alternative accounts of history will not be dismissed or overlooked. They will then collate and weigh that evidence before reaching their own conclusions. Differences in opinion will be encouraged and will be a necessary departure from the Orwellian groupthink mentality of the herd. Philosophy will also be taught as part of this dimension, giving students the ability to challenge their own rigid belief systems and open themselves up to different viewpoints and perspectives. The classroom will be a place where children truly feel like they are able to question everything and have their views respected, no matter what those views may be.
Religious doctrines will be abolished as they have no place in the education system. Open discussion of religion within a philosophical context will be encouraged however, as such discourse is highly valuable.
At present, the education system does not take our environmental reality seriously enough. Sustainability must be a primary focus in any new system. With the catastrophic deforestation of the Amazon, the plastic junkyards in our oceans, the pollution in our atmosphere, the displacement and destruction of our ecosystems, the threat of nuclear radiation, and now the plundering and pillaging of the Arctic regions, it is paramount that our children are not sheltered from the truth of our real and lasting impact on the environment.
Students will learn all about intelligent and effective resource/waste management, will interact with new energy technology in all its forms, and will be empowered to become problem-solvers with regard to the environmental crises facing our planet. Immersion in nature will be an integral part of this model, as it is crucial for us to regain our connection with the earth and with all life on it. The aim will be to get children out of the traditional classroom setting as much as possible and into a diverse range of environments that suit the learning context.
Children will also be equipped with the skills to become self-sustainable. This means being taught how to grow their own food, how to provide their own energy supply, how to build a house that can withstand the elements, and all other real useful life skills that allow them full autonomy over their own lives. The aim is to give young people the freedom of not having to rely on any system to do everything for them. They will be shown how to make sound choices for their health and wellbeing, through good nutrition, regular exercise and meditation. Again, it will be the responsibility of the children to look after their own vitality, and none of this will be forced on them.
Humanity’s greatest feats of creativity and progress have always been born out of unconventional ideas. Out of the box thinking will be deeply ingrained in the philosophy of a new education system. Schools will place a great deal of emphasis on divergent thinking, that is, thinking that does not require a clear right or wrong answer to any given problem. Divergent thinking strategies allow children to sharpen their natural creative intelligence so that they may reach their highest potential as innovators of the future.
All unnecessary competition in the classroom will be replaced by collaborative teaching and learning practices. Our human potential is far greater when we work together than when we work individually or at odds with each other. We must raise our children in an environment centred on collaborative and community-oriented principles so that they may grow to help create a better world and a fairer reality for the whole species.
Mathematics will be an optional pathway beyond elementary/primary level. Math will become a meaningful and highly relevant study with regard to its real world application. Students will also discover how sacred geometrical principles relate to nature, to the building of ancient civilizations, and to the framework of the universe itself.
Science education will see a shift away from reductionist materialism and into non-physical and quantum phenomena. This is not to say that the education system will abandon material science, but instead will extend its reach above and beyond traditional boundaries to include a study of that which we cannot perceive ordinarily with the five senses. All such exploration will occur through experimental and investigative inquiry by applying the scientific method.
This education model aims at retaining our native languages and recognises that cultural diversity is necessary in a thriving world. That said, English will also be taught across the board as that will enable all races, cultures and peoples to connect easily via written and spoken language.
Literacy and language acquisition will remain a cornerstone of the education system at elementary level, but will be voluntary at secondary level. Once a child can read fluently and get their message across effectively, it is no longer an absolute necessity for them to pursue further advancement of these abilities unless they choose a path that requires these skills. The engineers, nurses and dancers of the world would most likely prefer to use that time to develop skills in other areas.
Media literacy will be taught from around the age of ten. Children will be exposed to all kinds of media and will learn to think critically about the persuasive techniques being used. They will be able to read subtext, recognize manipulative language, and dissect political propaganda in all its forms. These skills are essential if we are to raise our children to maintain dominion over their own minds.
Students will also learn to recognize emotions and body language, and will apply that understanding to the management of social relationships and their own personal growth. By becoming conscious of their emotions, they will be able to minimize conflict, both internally and externally.
The last of the six dimensions, Empathy, is all about bringing real human connection into schools. It is so important that the future generations learn to value all life on the planet, so that our species does not continue to perpetuate the vicious cycle of war, oppression and conflict that has caused an unconscionable degree of pain and suffering.
In order to evolve, we must unite all colours and creeds and remove all barriers of separation. Nationalist fervour will be eliminated. There will be no pledge of allegiance. There will be no ethnocentric pedagogies. The education system will take a holistic, planetary approach, and will work on the foundational philosophy that we are all one.
Schools will function as real communities instead of the institutions they are now. Children will be valued, respected, and trusted with important roles of responsibility in the school. They will also be encouraged to engage in random acts of kindness in and out of the classroom, and to act with compassion and human decency in all that they say and do. Kids will learn strategies to empathise with others who are experiencing psychological, physical or emotional turmoil, which could be as simple as sitting silently by them and sharing their pain, or a heartfelt hug. Teachers will have the freedom and flexibility to establish a human connection with every child under their wing. Children will no longer feel alienated by their school system, but loved, understood, and empowered.
The Six Dimension Model will bring much-needed balance back to our education system, and will give both left-brain learners and right-brain learners the same opportunities to reach their highest potential. There is much more to this blueprint, including the structure and implementation, that I have written about in great detail in my book, Education Revolution, but this article should give you a clear idea of the scope of this vision. If this is the kind of education system you want to see for the future generations, then let’s hit the reset button together!
This article has been republished from Wake Up World
About the Author
Will Stanton is a writer and activist who has devoted his life to reforming the education system. He has just launched his book, Education Revolution, which proposes an entirely new global education model for humanity called The Six Dimension Model. The book is available in paperback format on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers.
You can follow Will on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thesixdimensionmodel