The endless untapped repositories of potential in your country are a tragic waste.
These repositories are two-sided coins.
On one side, we have young people, and on the other, we have their teachers.
Is there anything more potent than a room filled with young minds?
And what of the teachers who have responsibility for realizing the potential of those minds?
I've spent the past ten years researching this scenario to understand what can unleash the wasted potential of school life, of education.
These questions are answered, at least in part, by the experiential learning program I designed for our state education agency.
Since 2020 the program has been delivered to students 15-years and older and was recently given to teachers from five high schools.
Outcomes for both cohorts were overwhelmingly positive. The assessment data we collected validated the theories behind the program design.
The program, called the Experiential Pathways Learning Initiative©, is anchored by the pedagogical model I developed over the last 10-years called The Skills Studio. You can read more about the pedagogy here.
Teachers spend a handful of years in college. They're released to manage young people who endure years of learning based on curricula mainly irrelevant to the realities of life in what increasingly feels like a world in constant turmoil.
A teacher often helps students become aware of their visibility, feel that they are seen and heard, and have worth. It's the teacher who notices and nurtures individual talent. A process that could enable someone from a disadvantaged background to take steps to make meaningful advances towards their potential, which provides a stable and safe environment for a child or young person where they do not have one at home.
Young people are aware of and living in times of ongoing and profound global changes and problems. Shifting economic power and political tensions, war, and conflict, mass migration, prevailing social inequality, significantly changing social norms, massive bushfires, floods, climate change, and ecological damage put our very existence at risk.
However, our youth are powerless to change the course of their educational experiences.
And, so it's clear that these repositories of potential are forced to endure what might even be the best years of their lives, stuck in a system that suppresses their potential.
The education system in most countries squanders the endless untapped repositories of the potential of teachers and students.
I've seen that the Experiential Pathways Learning Initiative© applies that potential to solve real-world problems. But we've only really taken a small step with what we've done since 2020.
Do you feel aligned with the ethos I've outlined? Might you even be inspired to participate? Are you a student who knows you have more potential than your school comprehends? As a teacher, do you feel undervalued? Are you a parent who wants to help activate your child's skills and abilities?
Every stakeholder in your country's education system has a vital role in leveraging the endless untapped repositories of potential in your teachers and students.
One of the broadly agreed failings of education is that it does little to awaken, develop and foster the powers of innovation, collaboration, writing, and creativity.
It feels like it's time for concerted action to upend the traditional school system to tap the repositories of awesomeness that inhabit our schools.
Helping teachers, students, and parents to confidently solve complex problems is a primary objective of the Enterprise in the Community program we designed for NSW Education.
Students, like soldiers, need an armory to overcome life's battles.