There was always a dilemma for me when I was a teacher and then Principal in traditional schools;
“How to engage and promote a child’s natural instinct for learning within an environment not set up for individual and personalized passions and interests?
How do we move education to where children are in the driver’s seat of their own learning?
Children now are preparing for a world where some career options are not even known to us yet, and some jobs which exist now won’t exist in the future. Children today will likely have multiple jobs and professions throughout their lives and so they need to acquire the flexible and varied “survival skills” needed for an unknown future.
Tony Wagner in his book ‘The Global Achievement Gap’ says that children will need:
Critical Thinking Skills
Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
Agility and Adaptability
Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
Effective oral and written communication
Accessing and Analyzing Information
Curiosity and Imagination
Children at self-directed, democratic schools like The Learning Project are given an extraordinary amount of time and space to learn these survival skills. They are given opportunities to lead remarkable and interesting lives on a daily basis and they gain trust in themselves, and the tools and confidence to forge their own paths according to their innate drive and passion.
My career has taken me from inner-city state schools in the UK, to middle school Principal at two of Europe’s better known and prestigious International Schools in Germany and Belgium, to setting up my own school in the USA, and now, for probably the most exciting move, Head of School at the Learning Project, Ibiza.
I’m sure that The Learning Project will become an internationally known environment for self-directed learning. A place where children mix freely across ages and where the core of the philosophy is Freedom, Democracy, Responsibility and Respect
Ben Kestner M.Ed
Head of School