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The Future of Education - Book Review

1 November 2021
Dr. Moria Levy
book cover

The book "The Future of Education: How to Evolve Old Schools into Exciting & Innovative Learning Hubs," authored by my acquaintance Hezeki Arieli in 2020, has achieved Amazon bestseller status. Although our primary focus is on knowledge management, it is noteworthy that education and knowledge acquisition in schools operate in a sphere parallel to ours. We specialize in preserving, sharing, ensuring accessibility, and fostering the development of professional knowledge, organizational strategies, and messages for adults while schools cater to the needs of young people.


The book introduces essential skills for the future generation, a topic familiar from other sources, but it boldly proposes a new school model. This model aims to guide us along a different, more innovative path toward the desired educational goals. Notably, the book is not directed at the leaders of the Ministry of Education; instead, it advocates for grassroots change within schools.


The book delves into various vital topics:

  • Students

  • Management

  • Teachers

  • Curriculum

  • School

  • Appendix: Learning from Judaism


This summary captures the main points as I interpret them, omitting the numerous examples illustrating how to transform ideas into reality. I encourage reading the entire book for a comprehensive understanding, as it addresses these questions in detail. As knowledge management professionals, we should consider what is relevant to us, how we can derive insights, and how to elevate ourselves to offer disruptive knowledge management, perhaps not within our current settings but certainly alongside them.


Students

  1. When it comes to educating and preparing the future generation, the primary question is, "What skills are essential for the graduate of the future?" The school's role is to effectively equip students for an evolving future characterized by a knowledge-based economy emphasizing creativity, innovation, and originality expressed through technologies and beyond. Within the education pyramid, values take precedence, followed by skills and knowledge. The aspiration is to provide students with tools for excellence, incorporating passion and abilities to realize personal potential. Components of excellence include motivation, with critical factors such as interest, action, joy, usefulness, success, and reward. Ariely underscores the Pagmillion effect as a central tool – expect a high bar from a student, and it will be achieved. Giving up on any student is discouraged; every student should be encouraged to persist and not give in.

  2. Persistence

  3. Sensitivity

  4. Curiosity - Curiosity correlates directly with motivation and the ability to develop creative solutions. Opening lessons with questions, avoiding simply providing answers, engaging in discussions, offering positive feedback, and rewarding good answers while avoiding suppressing questions and answers contribute to developing curiosity. Combining questions on three levels – information, thinking, and developing thinking – further enhances curiosity.

  5. Creativity - Creativity, an original idea leading to value creation, is an inherent ability that requires cultivation. Conditions for developing creativity include freedom to think, open-mindedness, tolerance for mistakes, a supportive environment, optimism, and necessity.

  6. Open-mindedness

  7. Joy and Happy Optimism - Joy and happy optimism enhance children's performance by fostering creativity, friendship, teamwork, collaboration, hard work, and a willingness to face challenges. They also strengthen passion, discipline, self-learning ability, self-confidence, and other crucial aspects. Teacher-initiated optimism instills confidence in the student's ability to succeed.

  8. Skills

  9. Modesty

  10. Honesty


Educating students involves developing three types of abilities:

  1. IQ - Intelligent Quality: Intellectual intelligence encompasses the ability to learn independently, problem-solving skills, curiosity, creative thinking, and critical thinking.

  2. EQ - Emotional Quality: Emotional intelligence, including self-confidence and sensitivity.

  3. CQ - Community Quality: Social intelligence comprising teamwork, flexibility, and adaptability.


Innovative pedagogy addresses the "how" in developing these abilities. The more confident and fluent students are in the "how," the better they can grasp the "what." Joy remains a consistent factor in enhancing children's performance, fostering creativity, collaboration, hard work, and the courage to face challenges. It reinforces passion, discipline, self-learning ability, self-confidence, and other vital aspects. Teacher-initiated optimism is critical to building students' confidence in their ability to succeed.


Management

The principal spearheads the revolution in futuristic education, taking charge of a school already embracing this progressive approach. Interestingly, his primary focus is not the students but rather the teachers. The majority of efforts are directed toward investing in them and fostering their development to become the educators of the future. He prioritizes ensuring motivation, happiness, and enthusiasm among teachers, alongside enhancing their skills. Employing a Pagmillion effect approach, he sets a high expectations bar for them, believing it will yield positive results. Moreover, he actively cultivates the three abilities of reason among the teaching staff.



The principal is at the forefront of the revolution in futuristic education, leading a school that has already embraced this progressive approach. Intriguingly, his primary focus is not on the students but the teachers. The majority of efforts are directed toward investing in them and fostering their development to become the educators of the future. He prioritizes ensuring motivation, happiness, and enthusiasm among teachers while enhancing their skills. By employing a Pagmillion effect approach, he sets a high expectations bar for them, believing it will yield positive results. Moreover, he actively cultivates the three abilities of reason among the teaching staff.


Teachers

Four distinct types of educators contribute to student development:

  1. School Teachers: These educators prioritize doing things right while aiming to do the right thing. Committed to work and success, they exhibit out-of-the-box thinking. Functioning as facilitators, their primary goal is to develop students. They don't need knowledge in every subject; instead, they should excel in guiding students, fostering discussions, searching for answers, and promoting learning together.

  2. Specialists: Specialists hail from various professional fields, such as scientists, artists, philosophers, engineers, medical professionals, bankers, and more. Their involvement extends beyond conventional school hours and is integrated into the school community when invited. This integration embodies linking the school to the community and vice versa. It enhances the connection to real-life experiences and responds to evolving needs and innovations.

  3. Virtual Teachers: Equipped with information and knowledge from the internet and external sources, virtual teachers serve as windows into the existing and emerging worlds, both in the technological field and beyond. With artificial intelligence, this learning experience can be elevated, allowing for personalized learning. Virtual reality further enhances the students' experiences, creating a more immersive connection to real-life scenarios.

  4. Students Themselves: Students play an active role in their education by fostering self-learning. This can be achieved through presenting challenges, connecting leisure time to enjoyable learning processes, or seamlessly incorporating learning into daily activities.


Curriculum

Proposed Principles:

  1. Holistic Learning Perspective: Embrace a comprehensive view of learning that extends beyond the confines of school walls and operates beyond strictly defined school hours.

  2. Tailored Learning and Assessment: Recognize that learning and assessment methods should be tailored to each student, accounting for individual character, personal potential, and strengths.

  3. Real-Life-Based Studies: Design studies rooted in real-life scenarios to enhance relevance and practical application.

  4. Collaborative Teaching Approach: Foster collaboration among the four types of teachers, involving them in the planning and implementing of the learning process.

  5. Project-Based Learning: Emphasize project-based learning, whether in the classroom, in household activities, or through internship-like experiences within the community.

  6. Extended Class Duration: Shift towards classes lasting one or half a day instead of the conventional 45-minute sessions. This approach allows for adequate time for reflection, discussion, teamwork, and potential community engagement. It also facilitates in-depth exploration of subject matter, encompassing various aspects related to different professions.

  7. Multigenerational Learning: Encourage learning environments that combine age groups rather than restricting to a single year. Aligning with life, university, and work models, this approach accommodates the desires and abilities of each student.

  8. Flexible Learning Framework: Implement a flexible learning approach that, while not an entirely open school, grants students a degree of choice in the content they study, all while maintaining a commitment to STEM subjects.

  9. Beyond School Boundaries: Promote learning experiences that transcend traditional school boundaries, fostering exploration and interaction beyond the school environment.

  10. Global Learning Connections: Advocate for learning that transcends geographical barriers by integrating students from various parts of the world. Utilize diverse communication, learning, and interaction modes to enhance the overall educational experience.


School

The organizational and physical structure of the school departs from our previous understanding. The overarching organizational structure, especially during the transition to a futuristic school and beyond, encompasses:

  1. Research and Development Unit:

    - Monitors new trends and developments in learning models, technologies, and success stories.

    - Ensures the availability of professional resources.

    - While this team primarily conducts research, the development aspect is implemented throughout the school under shared responsibility.

  2. Pedagogical Innovation Unit: Develop innovative platforms and pedagogical learning tools

  3. Physical Visibility Unit: Promotes the visibility of the school, incorporating students as the primary target audience

  4. Ethics Development Unit: Responsible for formulating an appropriate code of ethics for the school concerning values and discipline

  5. Community Interface Unit: Develops and assists in implementing community relations within all learning processes.


The physical appearance of the school departs from the familiar:

  • Embraces colorful, inviting visibility.

  • Features collaborative learning spaces for teams and projects with minimal walls and separations.

  • Prioritizes comfort and innovation.

  • Provides ergonomic chairs for health-conscious seating.

  • Incorporates flexible spaces that can meet different needs simultaneously.

  • Integrates technologies facilitating distance learning and lesson sharing with students globally.

  • Reflects the learning models within the school, with teachers leading the design process, assisted by architects.


Integrating the school with the community fosters models where the school hosts regular and occasional community activities in the afternoons. Alternatively, studies may occur within the community, such as in kindergartens inside nursing homes, creating a symbiotic relationship.


Appendix: Learning from Judaism

In broad strokes, it can be asserted that Israelis and Jews have garnered recognition for their achievements in knowledge. Israel stands out as a nation synonymous with start-ups, and the percentage of Jews winning the Nobel Prize far surpasses their proportion in the population. Arieli highlights two elements from Jewish culture that appear to shape these trends:

  1. Israeli Chutzpah: Defined as daring, taking risks, and fearlessly thinking outside the box.

  2. Yeshiva Student Culture: Originating from resource constraints, it emphasizes a study method where pairs of students engage in equal-status questioning and answering, fostering freedom of thought through fellowship.


The future is imminent. Begin preparations, initiate pilot programs, and propel forward. It's crucial to remember that significant change often originates from the grassroots. We possess the means to drive it.


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