Why It Requires a Community To Transform Education For the 21st Century

Posted by The Committed Sardine on

“This EdTechReview post by Utkarsh Lokesh was originally published on March 8, 2014. It was recommended to us by Nicky Mohan.”

Source: EdTechReview

It is hard to imagine a time when the opportunity and need to transform education has been greater. What great business and education leaders know is that no single institution or organization can make the kinds of changes necessary to revolutionize the education system.

It requires a community to enable the significant education transformation needed for the 21st century.

We all have our own sense of purpose but all that requires and demands a community in order to pursue it. We have to accept the fact that no one has ever been declared a genius until what he or she has discovered has got tested in community. If one is not willing to function or cannot function in community, one cannot know/learn anything.

The educational institutions must play more of a role in promoting social change, and see themselves as a contributor or an asset to the challenges facing the communities. What you will always find great teachers doing is weaving a community of connections in the classrooms, in the labs or wherever they teach, that evokes the learning capacities. This shows that learning is best done in community.

Being a self-directed learner, I’ve curated learning experiences through the internet, conferences, books, lectures, and various platforms and I have clearly understood that we must not think about education without the context of community because actual learning is a social and cultural activity and community is essential to it. The more conferences you will attend, the more people you will meet, the more you will see that all real education is community-based, and wise educators are ones who recognize that and work with that reality.

 “Both community and learning need each other to thrive. “

A community for me means struggling through things to learn together, and this is what people must understand about the relation between community and education. A community is a group of people linked by a common vision.  We shall see the cities and regions as learning ecosystem, where public spaces, like libraries, makerspaces, and museums can be transformed into places of collaboration, innovation, problem solving, and creativity.

Today we see students having rich environment for learning even outside of school, at home and in the communities so the lines between schools and communities need to be blurred so that it is easy for educators to learn about and understand what is happening in the communities where their children live but also easy for the schools to draw support from those communities to address the needs of children. When that kind of more collaborative relationship exists I believe that schools and communities benefit from the partnership. Business leaders or community leaders must help create successful public-private partnerships.

In the global case studies, any high-performing school has a great sense of interconnectedness among the people who work there. We need to ask whether we are creating environments in communities outside of schools that are promoting this interconnectedness.

Education leaders and advocates get so excited about individual stories of success that they sometimes neglect to engage in the hard discussions about implementing these ideas on large scale to benefit all students. I believe that if we’re going to get serious about 21st century systems of teaching and learning, we cannot be satisfied with isolated success stories – no matter how exciting they are.

I believe that it’s only together that we can improve education. You have to start building a community someday, even if your community is a relationship with one other person, it’s better than nothing. Community building is a feeling of having a group of people that believe in you, and believes in your value to the greater whole. It surely motivates you when you feel valued and needed. When you have something to believe in and you have some people who believe in you then things will start to happen, you will start getting feedback and start seeing the desired changes.

Through my initial experience I have found that when you actually start reaching out to people and sharing your ideas with them, you will make connections that will give you input, feedback and help you get to where you want to go faster. These connections will open doors for you that you could never open by yourself and many opportunities will come your way. And when these community members will come together and develop resources to support each other aligned to a common bond, the community will outperform, which in turn will result into “revolution in education”.

About the Author

Entrepreneur passionate about community building and lifelong learning. Working to improve education by advocating 21st Century Learning and the effective use of Technology.
21st Century Education Advocate, EdTech Enthusiast, Co-Founder and CEO, EdTechReview



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