What would it be like if you went into a school building and shadowed a student for a day, and during that day you and the student experienced 100 or so signals that pointed to the following truths:
- Learning is transformative. When you learn what the solar system is and how stars work, you don’t see the night sky the same. As you grow in knowledge of the world’s history, you don’t see the news the same.
- Learning is emancipatory. Every era of human history is filled with stories of the choice-rich life that learning can bring. Learning frees and empowers people — always has, always will.
- Learning is possible. Given the right foundations and proper strategy, the human mind is remarkably good at learning.
- Learning is challenging. And challenges make us stronger. Challenges are good.
- Learning is plentiful. It’s not a race to anywhere, not a game to win. It’s a journey we’re all on, a bounty we share.
- Learning is beautiful. The longer you learn, the clearer it is.
Take or leave or modify any of those as you wish, but do that later.
For now, just imagine what it would be like if schools were places where these beliefs were actually self-evident — where classroom walls and hallway decorations and loudspeaker announcements and parent newsletters and teacher comments and school policies and initiative decisions and labor contracts were infused with these things like the air you’re breathing now is infused with oxygen.
It isn’t impossible to create schools like this — but it is surely not the default, either.
So, let’s stop there for the day and let me ask you this:
- What signals have you sent, implicit or explicit, in the last twenty-four hours?
- How could you increase the volume of signals like those above and decrease the volume of signals to the contrary?
For now, focus just on what you control.
We'll work on the system in due time.