More chaos in education, please!

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Chaos, complexity and failing forward is something start-ups do. Order, structure and properly measured learning is what serious educational institutions stand for. Are they really so contradictory?

I recently spent three days in Århus, Denmark, at the Kaospilot`s master class for educators, where we were challenged, thrown into chaos, exposed to our own and others´ feelings, and made to think about it. And only AFTER all that, were we given tools to navigate complexity together, and tools to design programs that are based on experiential and team learning.

In the start-up world, serial entrepreneurs are considered the best entrepreneurs. They learn from experience, and they learn from their teams. They learn from their mistakes, they are forced to act with as little information as possible (how little is enough?), or to frenetically search for information when they realize they do not know. And boy, do they remember those lessons! Although many entrepreneurs have mentors, teams are also a core factor in succeeding, teams that are aligned, have commitment to each other and to a clear direction. And where there is a very high degree of trust between the members.

Schools are in a way like start-ups. Their product, “educated children”, have to be prepared for the big unknown out there, with the proper tools to navigate it. Today`s teachers an students alike know very little about tomorrow`s workplaces, they have to act with as little information as possible (how little is enough?). Yet too often students are served “content” or “relevant knowledge“on a plate and do not actively search for information they do not know. Do they really remember those lessons?

Schools could be organized more like start-ups. Chaos, complexity and failing forward do not exactly describe a schools`culture, although it can be very constructive. Research shows that the best predictor for performance in education is the belief “Yes I can” or “Yes I know”. That belief comes from experiencing equally what I can and what I cannot do , what I know and what I don´t, then finding solutions to that, guided by a mentor and helped by my team of peers. This belief that I know own level, my personal best, and I am constantly challenged on that, gives a fantastic feeling of empowerment and drives students forward.

Our vision for schools is more learning from experience and less learning from books/ebooks. More learning with tools then from tools. More learning from team/peers, and less teaching. More “start-up” schools , and proper tools to navigate that constructive chaos.

Please let me know what you think at mihaela@newschool.me.