â€œThere is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.â€ â€“ Machiavelli, The Prince
As we embark on the journey to reimagine education, we are aware of the elations and the lows, the successes and failures, the unwavering stands and the compromises that a â€œnew order of thingsâ€ demand of us. We are fortunate to be loved and supported by our families and friends, who joined us on this day when we inaugurated a community of learning and loving.
On a bright sunny Sunday morning, kids (and parents) of all ages gathered at Northstar campus for experiencing play based learning. It was an amazing experience not only for the kids but also for their parents and Northstar educators. We do what we do because every child we touch today will create a new world for herself tomorrow. We want to ensure that, that world is a beautiful world for not only herself but for everyone.
t began as a seed of an idea on a sleepy afternoon 3 years ago in Cambridge. Dreaming about it and seeing kids walk in to the school with their parents are two utterly different experiences. When I started thinking about the school, I realized that people are looking for utilitarian outcomes like jobs and placements, packages and benefits. I felt an undercurrent of apathy towards the thinking and inquiring approach to education. But there is a community, albeit a small one, that exists in defense of the libertarian and democratic education. So what is â€œrightâ€ for the society? That question kept me up at night for too long. Eventually and repeatedly, I have had to come to an understanding, a kind of acceptance, that as much as I have the right to imagine society in the light of experiences Iâ€™ve had, others have equal and possibly divergent views given their journey of life. But it is still possible to make a value judgment that the society we live in has, as its members, people who are able to ask the right questions, are able to think independently and out of their â€œmindsetâ€ established by a lifetime of experiences. Can our current system of prescribed curriculum, regimented routines, assessment systems and accountability structures create an environment where students donâ€™t have to be like everyone else?
I donâ€™t believe so.
Having spent a very long time in thinking about the purpose of education, a person eventually needs to make a choice on practicalities of such ramblings. The bridge between, in Aristotleâ€™s terms, â€œTheoriaâ€ and â€œPraxisâ€ needs to be scaled or at least a choice of staying in one needs to be made. I have chosen (or made to choose, Iâ€™m not quite sure) a life of â€œPraxisâ€, of doing things. And that necessitates messy work, being able to live to compromises and managing expectations. But I am quite evidently on the road to progressive education and If I had the slightest bit of influence, I would urge you to think the same. Ultimately a good education for me, in Deweyâ€™s words, is freedom to express and cultivate individuality rather than imposition from above, free activity rather than external discipline, learning through experience rather than texts and teachers alone, and living a present life rather than living in preparation of a remote future.
- Mohit Patel, Founder
Â Mette and I both have been introduced to design thinking as a way of exploring ideas.
We think it is extremely important for experts to keep a beginner's mind in order to come up with something entirely new and original.
Itâ€™s hard to teach what you were never taught, and if you have gone through the Indian school system, chances are that you have had little experience with teamwork and collaborative problem-solving, unless, of course, you have been exposed to this later in life. I bring up this issue of collaboration because, during my stay in Rajkot, Mohit and I designed and facilitated several workshops with parents, educators and professionals. Many of our activities required participants to collaborate with each other in small groups and I was surprised to learn how little familiarity â€“ and, as a result, how few strategies â€“ our adult participants had with group work of this kind.
The blank stares and uneasy silence made me feel as if we had just asked a group of race car drivers to complete the Tour de France with some of them never even having seen a bicycle.