I take a different approach to education, and I focus on different things. I’m interested in interdisciplinarity, the creative process, and many aspects of self-development. Here’s the core of my approach, with three guiding pillars and fifteen skills:
- Developing a path of self-assessment, self-regulation, and self-reflection.
- Following the search for knowledge and meaningful answers.
- Finding useful solutions to complex problems.
- Developing creativity through play and imagination.
- Thinking for oneself.
- Opening oneself to empathy and compassion.
- Communicating effectively in speaking, listening, writing and performing.
- Building trust, emotional safety, and a culture of collaboration.
- Being open to giving and receiving feedback and accepting others.
- Embracing and resolving conflicts.
- Engaging in the reciprocal process of mentorship.
- Joining and contributing to communities.
- Modeling and teaching ethical practices.
- Opening to, and learning from, other cultures.
- Being a lifelong learner.
These are more holistic, integrative, and focused on general goals of personal development than education (at any level) tends to be. These skills don’t align themselves with any particular academic domain or content area but are fundamental to any given domain of knowledge.
Without deliberately setting out to challenge the status quo of education, I stand somewhat in opposition to it. That’s unavoidable. I don’t lecture, I don’t have exams, and I don’t rely solely on my knowledge as a content expert. What do I do? I try to craft creative, integrative, interdisciplinary and engaged teaching and learning experiences for the whole person. I try to build communities of learners who use creativity, play, and personal development to build the skills of self-awareness. I try to deepen empathy through community engagement. And I try to help learners build character — an old-fashioned but highly accurate term — through collaboration and mentorship.