Posted on March 10, 2018
In light of recent events in our nation regarding violence in schools, I reflect on the power of meaningful learning, the kind of learning relevant to decision-making, relationship-building, and empathic dispositions. In the 21st century, "basics" should mean something different from the literacy (reading/writing) and numeracy (math) skills associated with schooling. Not to discredit the importance of the literacy skills every global citizen should have in order to participate in civics, the New Basics are skills that develop the aptitudes and dispositions for making sense of the world, strengthening relationships, and taking action.
The inquiry approach, characteristic of a Mid-Pacific education, can help to get us there. Through inquiry, students take control of their learning by wondering, asking questions, looking at issues from different perspectives, observing, listening -- together. This social construction of knowledge puts knowledge-making in the hands of the learner. Learning together reminds us that there is a community in which we live and to whom we bear responsibility.
But inquiry alone, while a powerful mindset, isnʻt enough to effect change. We look to the New Basics in the Mid-Pacific context -- developing the dispositions to be empathic, to be emotionally intelligent, to be aware of othersʻ needs and be able to respond, to connect with others, to lead and act with integrity. At admissions presentations, I tell prospective parents that the most impactful content area is character education ("character education" is an apt name, isnʻt it?) because these are skills needed an entire lifetime! If only social-emotional learning took its place in core content curriculum in all schools, our children could have a brighter future. Which is why we will continue to provide character education as an essential learning approach for all our students.
E Kūlia Kākou! Letʻs strive and aspire together!
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey, Ed.D.