What happened on October 22, 2001 to change the trajectory of humanity? To change the trajectory of education?

This question emerged for me in a workshop on “Flourishing in Schools” this week. Truthfully, the only thing I recognized was the proximity of the date to 9/11, but another participant got closer, “The iPhone was released?”

Because of the ascent of the microprocessor and the subsequent rapid advancement of technology, we are on the front end of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The rapid changes in society are shifting education while parents and teachers struggle to stay abreast. We must implement and adapt effectively and we must stay together.

The Trajectory of Education

Learn Forward values our sacred work together. So, I am writing a primer blog series called “The Trajectory of Education” with mini-lessons on the shifts happening and with practical suggestions for how we can adjust for the sake of the children. The practical suggestions are preaching to myself, with the hope of encouraging our community of teachers and parents. Our shift will be most effective if we shift together.

From Compliance

During your years growing up, did you hear the response “Because I said so”?

I did. My dad grew up on a farm, where choices and individualization were rarely found; it was a matter of survival to work together to ensure productivity. Everyone worked, hard. There wasn’t a choice.

This mindset comes out of a survival model. I can see it in the anecdotes of the “Little House on the Prairie” book I’m reading with our little one. Ideas like, when Ma used “that tone of voice,” we all stopped and were quiet. She didn’t have to ask twice.

So, when I grew up with my three siblings, it was similar. We all learned hard work, yet voice and choice sometimes were met with “because I said so.” It was a shift from the pioneering survival model to an efficiency model.

Don’t get me wrong, our home growing up was loving and offered many gifts, including excellent communication skills and a brilliant work ethic. Yet, I find times are changing, quickly. It is impacting my home and our schools.

The efficiency model demanding compliance is being disrupted, the effects stretching across the globe.

Fourth Industrial Revolution

We are focused on human empowerment in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In much of my Learn Forward writing, I discuss the Human Renaissance coming.

In some homes parents interpret the changes and allow children to be in control, of basically everything. Even the family meal is decided by the 7-year olds. Some homes still struggle with “because I said so.” In some classrooms we are still using carrots and sticks to manage behaviour.

The compliance model is a difficult shift and there are a wide range of interpretations.

To Responsive Practice

Let me simplify.

Our nests, the classrooms and homes where children are learning and growing, need to shift from a compliance model to a responsive practice. We need to practice listening, reflecting, collaborating, problem solving. We need to practice the competencies required to be together and belong. We need to practice vulnerability, compassion, and connection.

A responsive practice takes time, but we have time. We aren’t in a survival model and even our efficiency model is being disrupted by the technological advances.

We must create time and hold space for nurturing the best of human capabilities.

Photo by Jordan Whitefield on Unsplash

Photo by Justin Peterson on Unsplash

Photo by Hello Im Nik on Unsplash

Practical Shifts

What does this shift mean in our homes and classrooms?  Possibly the most important way we can respond as parents and teachers is to support our children’s reflection and engagement in learning.

One amazing and practical focus cultivating a responsive practice is:

Ask Powerful Questions.

It looks like coaching kids.  It looks like time for in-depth conversations, powerful questions, and collaborative problem solving and embedding practices supporting our most important journeys of both selfhood and belonging.  Children need a responsive practice that includes deferring to another for the sake of being together and of digging deep to discover what’s inside of them. These ideas take time to form with children.

Hold space and time for asking powerful questions.

Parents and Teachers, if you are rushing and over-stimulated, I invite you to re-orient your home or classroom and focus on empowering students through powerful questions.  

If you need some inspiration, watch the 11min video included in this post. The world is changing and we must shift…

For the sake of the children,


P.S. Welcome to our Learn Forward community! Please like and share on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also, if you missed the September newsletter, please sign up today.  There are powerful tools for moving from compliance to responsive practice included.