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EDUCATION IS ABOUT LIGHTING A FIRE
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."
-William Butler Yeats
This manifesto shares 8 convictions about the foundation of real learning and the future of education.
Students and parents are tired of the status quo that no longer adequately prepares our children for the 'uncertain future' we're facing.
It's time to chart your own path.
1. FUNDAMENTALLY, HUMANS WANT TO BE AND BECOME GREAT
AND DO WORK THAT IS PURPOSEFUL
This includes students who are working on their education. They want to do 'great things' and make the world a better place. And that begins with an education that is great with a purpose beyond grades, tests, and diplomas.
Education becomes great when lights a fire of passion within the student instead of filling their minds with information, graduation requirements, and facts that can be googled.
In contrast, when students focus on 'requirements' instead of passions it leads to youth who are apathetic, indifferent, and unmotivated.
Heimaey, Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland
Naiman Nuur, Ovorkhangai, Mongolia
2. HUMANS WANT TO CHOOSE THEIR OWN PATH, AND DISCOVER & LIVE THEIR LIFE MISSION
Students choose their own path and the education they pursue, including the curriculum they use (or don't use).
They want their education to contribute to the development of their very best self -- to the discovery and fulfillment of their passions, mastery, and personal life purpose and mission.
Parents and teachers fear that students will choose poorly if left to decide on their own. Or they claim that they have no interests or passions except for social media, video games, and Netflix.
But these issues and concerns are only symptoms of a larger, systemic problem in which an onslaught of 'shoulds', assignments, and requirements -- along with a lack of adventure, purpose, and a hero's journey -- prevent students from getting in touch with their true selves and the things that 'light their fire of passion'.
3. HUMANS WANT TO TRANSFORM INTO THE BEST VERSION OF THEMSELVES
Education is about personal growth and the process of becoming your very 'best self'.
WHAT a student learns (the subject) is not as important as HOW it is learned (active vs. passive learning) and WHO they become in the process.
All learning is interconnected and every 'subject' or interest will eventually lead to the entire body of knowledge, so there's no need to fear that a student will 'never' learn this or that.
As long as a love of learning persists, then the student will learn what they need to when it becomes relevant or necessary.
A transactional education focuses on grades, tests, information, diplomas, & curriculum.
A transformational education focuses on developing the character and competency of each student and unleashing the potential to become their very best selves through the pursuit of passions.
Belevedere Palace, Vienna, Austria
4. EDUCATION MUST BE INNOVATIVE & PREPARE STUDENTS FOR AN 'UNCERTAIN FUTURE'
From 2000 to 2014, humans achieved the same amount of change and progress as happened during the entire 20th century... 100 years of growth in just 7 years. And the 'Law of Accelerating Returns' says:
"If we’re being truly logical and expecting historical patterns to continue, we should conclude that much, much, much more should change in the coming decades than we intuitively expect." 
The current education model was designed and implemented in the 19th Century and is linear based.
Since the future and ongoing, accelerating change is approaching significantly faster than we realize (or are aware of), it’s critical to think exponentially about where our students are headed and how they'll get there.
We can't prepare them for an 'uncertain future' with an outdated education model that is training them for a 'future' that is already in the past.
5. INTEREST AND RELEVANCE ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT TOOLS FOR DISCOVERING PASSION AND DEVELOPING MASTERY
Identifying individual interests leads to the discovery of passions which, when pursued, result in skill development that in turn contributes to mastery.
Developing mastery is a critical component of psychological health and overall well-being.
Humans with high confidence, competence, and mastery have the necessary skills to avoid or prevent negative life events or difficulties and as a result to have greater fulfillment and happiness.
An education for the future recognizes that the development of skills and mastery are MORE important than academic learning and knowledge.
Terezin Concentration Camp, Czech Republic
Red Pine Lakes, Rocky Mtns, Utah, USA
6. A CULTURE OF ADVENTURE, GROWTH, LEADERSHIP, LEARNING, & INNOVATION HAPPENS THROUGH THE PROCESS OF EXPERIENCE & EXPOSURE
Deep growth and learning never occurred by "vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's life."
Exposure to a wide variety of ideas, thoughts, beliefs, people, and viewpoints fosters understanding, compassion, innovation, and intellect.
A diversity of experiences, adventures, and obstacles or challenges strengthens confidence, competence, problem-solving skills, aptitude, and mastery.
Both experience and exposure are critical to the development of students preparing for an uncertain future.
7. SERVE THE WORLD & EMPOWER OTHERS BY IMPACTING YOUR CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE
Fundamentally, humans are driven to make the world a better place, even if in a small way.
You don't have to change the world, but you will always have the opportunity to change & impact those who enter your circle of influence.
Family members, neighbors, community, and causes are all within your circle of influence.
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
The more capable, competent, and confident you become through skills development & mastery, the more power you will have to influence and empower others.
Humanitarian Trip, Panajachel, Guatemala
Berkenau Concentration Camp, Poland
8. LEARNING HAPPENS BEST WHEN SELF-DIRECTED AND SUPPORTED BY A FRAMEWORK OF MENTORING AND ACCOUNTABILITY
No two humans are the same. So no two educational paths should look exactly the same. A curriculum, subject, or school that works well for one may kill a love of learning for another.
Students learn best and stay passionate about the process when they self-direct their education using personal interests, passions and a vision of their future 'best selves' as the starting point of their learning journey and path to mastery.
Along the route guidance, encouragement, instruction, and correction by mentors and a framework of accountability keeps them on track.
Click here for a downloadable, printable PDF version of this manifesto.
THESE ARE GREAT IDEAS...
BUT HOW DO I ACTUALLY IMPLEMENT THEM?
We designed a groundbreaking approach to learning and education built on The Cornerstones -- The Most Important Skills for the 21st Century.
Click here to learn what The Cornerstones are and how they will help your child be prepared for the 'uncertain future' and live a life on purpose filled with meaning, happiness, and fulfillment.
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