Teacher’s New Role In Future-Oriented Education – Supporting the New Paradigm Shift
With the world changing so fast, with the uncertainty of what comes next, with technology dominating our learning, and with education still focused on academic achievements – we need a strong strategy to prepare our children for the future. As educators we also need to make sure that we are responding not only to the current trends, but that we are able to see a bigger picture.
To take education to the next level and make a real long-lasting change in learning, we need a clear understanding of Future-Oriented Education. In this article we are going to explore it in more depth.
Questioning and Redefining the Outdated Models
More and more people are questioning the current educational model and its impact on children’s growth, learning, and their future. More educators and parents are beginning to understand that substituting workbooks with technology is still not enough to make a substantial quality change in education. Yet we still insist on using outdated pedagogies and old-fashioned methodologies, and we still choose to focus on heavily academic-oriented education.
We are entering a massive Paradigm Shift which affects the entire world including all areas of our life, and which urges us to redefine the old ways of thinking. The current global crisis has shown us that in order not only to survive, but to thrive and create something better, we need Core Life Skills and Future-Oriented Mindset at our disposal. We need to be able to adapt, adjust, create, reinvent our life, be able to predict next steps, see a bigger picture, communicate effectively, collaborate efficiently, maintain positive relationships with others, and act guided by our sound judgment, direct experience and intuition. It has become evident that the outdated educational model is not likely to take our children in this direction, just as it has failed to serve us too.
Why the Outdated Education Models Can No Longer Work
Every child can potentially lead, inspire, empower, guide and share their talents with the world to make it a better place to live. Every child can potentially live a happy and deeply fulfilling life. And this world needs conscious leaders now more than ever before to build a better future.
The future is based on new values – that we are here to thrive, and that education should support us to achieve this.
However, current educational models are still focused too much on academic achievements – at the same time ignoring children’s individual talents and natural gifts, thus limiting real opportunities to express their full potential and succeed in life.
Most children, regardless of the location, are under constant pressure to master, understand, learn, do, complete, pass, use, read, study, and perform. Such education is not child-centred but quite the opposite – it imposes the very same rules and expectations on every child moulding them to perform in certain ways and achieve certain results by certain deadlines.
This is a very uniform way that all children are expected to conform to – regardless of their unique learning preferences, interests, or talents. The dominant way of instruction is still based on pre-planned structured learning usually delivered by means of pen & paper activities, worksheets and course books, or their modern technology-based substitutes. In this model, learning process tends to be teacher-centred, performance-oriented, and usually based on dull and unappealing instruction. It’s a very passive model which leaves little space for students to be hands-on and engaged in creative, contextualised and deeply meaningful experiences.
Such educational model almost entirely neglects children’s preferred mode of learning – which is always active, holistic and self-directed. It offers very few opportunities for children to decide about their own learning journey, about their body and their needs, about their preferences and interests, their pace of learning, and their natural talents.
The current dominant educational model negatively influences children in a long run impacting their physical, mental and emotional well-being. As a result, children have less chances to develop the core life skills they will need in the future. Also, children become disconnected from their own natural gifts and talents, and it becomes more difficult for them to recognise, honour and address their unique learning needs and preferences. This makes learning to their full potential much more challenging and leaves little space for nurturing children’s natural leadership mindset. Such model has very different goals in mind and thus is not suitable for supporting individual children in discovering, creating and experiencing their own learning journeys that are in line with their unique needs and preferences.
The Paradigm Shift in Education
The paradigm shift in education, which is currently emerging, calls for celebration of all children’s uniqueness and fostering their Core Life Skills and Future-Oriented Mindset.
It recognises the importance and the effectiveness of Natural Learning Processes that can greatly accelerate life-long learning. This change also promises to offer plenty of opportunities to cultivate children’s natural gifts and talents, support their holistic development and growth, and promote positive leadership skills and entrepreneurial spirit.
This totally new model shifts the old understanding of the purpose of education, which is academic-achievement-based and result-driven, into a completely new understanding which is all about supporting individuals on their unique learning journey towards self-mastery and fulfilment.
It places a great focus on discovering one’s natural gifts and talents, and their unique learning needs and preferences – so that they can confidently use them to identify and design the most appealing and the most sustainable life pathways, choices, careers, enterprises, projects, and initiatives.
Such model supports an individual and also the entire collective because the understanding is that a fulfilled person will share their talents with the world in order to make it a better place to live in. This includes offering, inventing and sharing ideas, technologies, approaches, strategies, solutions, business and educational models, etc.
Modern Pedagogies and Methodologies that Facilitate Change in Education
To achieve this all, the New Paradigm Shift in Education calls for approaches that promote positive self-image and conscious self-knowing, and that support the development of Core Life Skills and Future-Oriented Mindset through Active Experiential Holistic Learning. In this model learning process is effortless, exciting, joyful, contextualised, meaningful and personalised. This way it will also be the most effective and leaving long-term results.
Personalised and Self-Directed Learning, Child-Led Play, Responsible Positive Pedagogy, Experiential Holistic Learning, Outdoor Education are the key approaches that will greatly facilitate this New Paradigm Shift. They will help children connect with their natural gifts and talents to develop Core Life Skills and foster Future-Oriented Mindset.
Why it is Crucial to Start in Early Years
Attitudes, skills and mindsets developed in foundation years will stay with children for life. This is the reason why Early Years and Primary Education matter so much.
Creativity, collaboration, reasoning, bodily awareness, positive self-image, confidence, leadership, problem solving, relationship building – these are all nurtured in children’s early years through real-life experiences and an authentic connection with the real world.
When it comes to facilitating the New Paradigm Shift, early years is the time when the seeds for the future are planted. These seeds will sprout in the future, and our children will start passing the new education models, mindsets and attitudes onto their children and future generations. So, whatever we do today will naturally have an impact on the future of our children and the world. It will definitely have a direct impact on our children’s current growth and development. However, to achieve this we need to make sure that the educators of today understand what needs to be done and how to facilitate and start implementing the change now.
Redefining the Role of an Educator
To effectively support the change, we need to redefine the role of an educator in this new model. Teacher can no longer be the most important person in the classroom, a know-it-all, a discipliner, the ultimate authority, the lecturer, the organiser, and the only author of all learning processes. In the New Paradigm, education can no longer be teacher-centred. In fact, teachers can no longer just teach.
Educators of the Future are Facilitators of Natural Learning Processes
Because the new educational model is completely child-centred, the educator becomes a person who steps back, observes, identifies needs, preferences and strengths of individual children, reflects on their observations, and offers the most nurturing enabling environments for all their children to engage in Active Experiential Holistic Learning. The educator gently guides, works in partnerships with their students, responds to their cues, invites them by offering inspiring learning contexts and environments that open the door to Child-Led Play and Self-Directed Learning.
A change of perspective is all that matters now. The educators who are successful in supporting the new paradigm are those who are able to look at the world and the learning processes through children’s eyes and detach from their personal goals and ambitions. To become an effective educator in this model, we first need to become children again. This is based on years of experience, real case studies and tangible results coming from those educators who have already been embracing this educational model into their professional practice. These people are ready to lead, role model and share their wisdom and experience with others now.
What Qualities Educators of the Future Need to Embrace
Educators of the Future:
- recognise children’s right to take ownership of their learning journey, and offer them space, time and resources to safely experiment, collaborate, test, try, lead, comment, modify, and explore.
- are ready to celebrate children for who they really are, and consider them as their own authorities and master learners. These are the educators who are deeply fascinated with children’s wisdom, their deep connection to themselves, and their authentic joy for learning.
- are ready to trust children because they understand that children are much more connected to their natural learning skills than we are as adults.
- are not afraid that children will take control or start misbehaving. They know that children will never need to do this once they have been offered the most enabling environments which honour their individual needs and preferences.
- are ready to see beyond themselves, learn from children, and be guided by them. Such educators are enthusiastically willing to step into their new role as facilitators of learning processes. They understand that this is the only role there is for adults to play – to create and hold safe and inspiring space where children can happily grow to their fullest potential, discover their natural talents, and share them with the world.
Such mindset is a real game changer! And although still quite rare, more and more people are finding themselves aligned with it, and they are choosing to grow, sustain and expand it further. They want to learn to be ready to effectively implement these principles in their everyday professional practice.
What Skillset Educators of the Future Need to Develop
Once the right mindset is in place, only then is it time to learn specific skills and techniques that educators need to know and understand and be able to use to facilitate the change on a daily basis.
Future-Oriented Educators need to know how to:
- create enabling and inspiring learning environments that support Experiential Holistic Education and Child-Led Learning,
- promote safe and manageable risk-taking,
- create inspiring educational materials using local resources, and become self-reliant and tool-independent,
- design inspiring Play & Learning Stations and Play Spaces that offer a long-term framework to support holistic, experiential and personalised education,
- cross-reference both naturally occurring and pre-planned learning experiences with cross-curricular goals and learning outcomes that support core life skills and holistic development,
- perform child-centred observation to identify unique strengths, individual learning needs and preferences, and use this information to plan and offer suitable learning experiences,
- support children in discovering and nurturing their unique skills, interests and talents while offering variety of learning contexts,
- nurture leadership mindset and entrepreneurial spirit,
- apply Responsible Positive Pedagogy to boost children’s self-confidence and conscious self-awareness.
Although it may seem a lot, the good news is that with the right kind of training in place these skills are relatively easy to develop and can be learnt within a short period of time – providing the right mindset is in place too.
Future-Oriented Education For All – Regardless of the Location
The approaches that we mention in this article – Active Experiential Holistic Learning, Outdoor Education, Positive Pedagogy, Personalised and Self-Directed Learning, Child-led Play, Cross-Curricular Education, Multi-Sensory Learning – are examples of child-centred pedagogies and methodologies offering a whole range of wonderful tools that can help educators embrace and implement Future-Oriented Education on a daily basis immediately.
They can be implemented in early years settings, in primary schools, and in home education all over the world – so that every child is offered the same chance to grow to their fullest potential. It’s because these approaches do not put resources and tools in the centre, but they focus on supporting children’s core life skills and fostering future-oriented mindset.
These approaches can also help teachers become tool-independent and create environments, tools and resources that sustain children’s balanced growth and holistic learning – no matter the location. What this means is that in the New Paradigm Shift delivering high quality education becomes cost effective, feasible, and easy to adopt to any local unique circumstances.
Robust Teacher Training Focused on Immediate Application
The massive change in education that we talk about in this article can happen by modelling and promoting best practices, and by running effective hands-on teacher and parent training programmes that are specifically focused on immediate implementation and application. Modern technology makes it so much easier to offer such training on a bigger scale and reach teachers and parents in all corners of the world.
To learn how to facilitate the New Paradigm Shift in your setting or school, check our ACTIVE LEARNING BOOSTER Teacher Training programme. It’s a self-paced hands-on online training programme for Early Years Practitioners and Primary Teachers who are ready to offer Future-Oriented Education through the Active Experiential Holistic Learning approach!
Magdalena Matulewicz and Witold Matulewicz, Founders of Natural Born Leaders and authors of Active Learning Booster programme, have been working with this approach for over 20 years – both in early years and primary education. They have trained lots of childminding settings, play groups, day nurseries and schools where dedicated educators have successfully been using Active Experiential Holistic Learning on a daily basis.
ACTIVE LEARNING BOOSTER programme has been designed to make sure that as you participate in this training, all key components of learning are in place:
- knowledge and understanding
- practical application and on-site implementation
- evidence of your own learning journey
So when you complete this certified CPD programme in full, you will have strong evidence of the quality of your work, what you have learned and achieved, how your skills have evolved, what you have implemented and its quality.
You will become an empowered, self-reliant, and tool-independent Educator of the Future, and you will be able to offer Active Experiential Holistic Learning at the highest level!