"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain
As we enter the fourth industrial revolution, we are stepping into an era of unprecedented creation that humanity has never witnessed before. The way we live, work and relate to one another is all set to change dramatically. Be it the case of artificial intelligence and autonomous cars, 3D printing and its impact on manufacturing, robots replacing humans in routine cognitive and physical jobs, a shared economy where access is valued over ownership - we are headed towards a vastly different world than the one we inherited.
While it all sounds exciting, what is worrisome is that, rather than addressing the requirements of the present and future, we continue to educate our children for the first or, at best, the second industrial revolution. There is much talk about change in education but not much is being done about it. For most children, schooling continues to be about being leashed, not unleashed; about being constrained, not unfettered; about fearing failure, not pursuing success; about rote learning, not deep understanding; about covering the syllabus, not uncovering it; about routine and boredom, not excitement and fun; about isolation from community, not engagement with it.
Studies from Oxford University and Future of Jobs Surveys clearly indicate that in the near future, the only jobs that will not be taken away by machines would be the ones that require the most intrinsic human traits such as creativity, thinking and socio-emotional skills. As Stephen Hawking says, 'The world will belong to those who care, serve and manage.'
As in all other revolutions, there are three sets of people:
Since we want our children to be able to ride the wave of change, at Heritage Xperiential Learning School, 13 years ago, we took the first steps on a path less travelled, to educate our children as against schooling them. We did away with textbooks and tests, faded subject boundaries, and embraced depth as opposed to superficial coverage of subjects. We focused on a more humane, real and learner-centric curriculum and pedagogy in nurturing the first truly experiential learning school in the country. We adopted project-based learning methods, with multi-disciplinary themes where students take the lead in their learning and in real life experiences where they manage projects, work in small teams, handle multiple perspectives, learn from successes and failures, deal with conflict, and also focus on design, research, data analysis while working in the real world to solve real problems. A case study of one such project is 'Raahgiri'
However, as we keep travelling down this path, we realise that that our goals and targets need to keep shifting. Our efforts on recent leadership hires, formation of Specialised Curriculum Development teams, investments in Learning Management Systems and on a Makers Curriculum are endeavours in this direction. Our teachers have been trained by some of the finest global experts in experiential learning. Last year itself, we had trainings from the world's foremost experts like Dr. Roger Greenway, Rayna Dineen, Anna Rainville to share aspects of experiential education with us including on using concepts such as citizenship, community, music, movement and laughter in educating our junior, middle and senior programme students.
The school is taking active steps in the direction of design and systems thinking as well. This movement is spearheaded by the creation of multipurpose spaces, both inside and outside classrooms where students tinker and play with digital tools by taking things apart, creating artefacts that are meaningful to them and inspiring innovation.
We are privileged to work with parents and teachers who recognise that the most important skill in this ever-evolving world is to learn how to learn. I am indebted to all stakeholders of this community for providing us the space, courage and conviction to test our boundaries and build new frontiers. I look forward to your continued support.
Heritage Xperiential Learning School
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