Ep #13: The Change That Needs to Happen in Education

Today in Part 4 of the Education Series, I’m so excited to be discussing the change–in my opinion– that must happen to start a revolution in education and raise actually happy, successful kids. I’m covering some of the things we can do as individuals, students, teachers, administrators and parents to redefine success and advocate change.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:

  • My wish for administrators– principals, superintendents, directors and other positions in power…how to create a new and improved environment that supports the whole child.
  • My wish for kids and students…how you can better yourself and how to take control over your future right now
  • My wish for educators…how to care deeply for your students and their individual well-being.
  • My wish for parents…how to help your child form their own beliefs that feel good and true to them
  • My #1 wish for post-grads to finally stop suffering and awaken to your own TRUTH

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TRANSCRIPT

Welcome back everybody. Thanks so much for being here as always.

We have made it to the very last day, Part #4, of the Education Series.

I’ve been doing so much talking about the problems within our schools today and dissecting each one, that I’m so excited to be discussing the change (in my opinion) that must happen to start a revolution in education and raise actually happy, successful kids.

Some of the ideas I pose here today may sound a bit familiar, seeing that yes I did sprinkle some fairy dust on the problems in Parts 1-3, but today we’re going to let the fairy dust pour down on us and just soak it all up.

I’ve made an effort to keep my points as clear and concise as possible, seeing that there are quite a few. But, of course, I’m not covering ALL the things we can do as individuals, students, teachers, administrators and parents to redefine success and advocate change, but that’s OK. Because my hope in the evolution of this podcast, is to invite global change-makers to the show to share their ideas and insights on the matter. So there’s definitely room to stretch and expand. Right now, I’m just going to share with you the fixes that resonate with me and my intuition in this moment.

Let’s jump in.

Traditional education, the way it stands right now, is counterproductive to well-being and happiness. So we really need to rebuild the infrastructure to support and put a child’s well-being and happiness first. We must develop a new plan of action to create a positive and healthy educational environment that supports the whole child.

We hear all the time about these wealthy, powerful people in the world donating millions of dollars to schools every year with the intention of helping our youth. The United States alone spends more than $620 billion dollars on K-12 education each year. $620 billion dollars.

That’s a big chunk of change. But the thing is guys we can put as much money into schools as we want to, but if we don’t change the ideology and create new systems around what we (scientifically) know produces happy, healthy, motivated human beings, nothing actually changes and today’s youth is not actually benefiting from these monetary contributions.

A very large portion of the funding goes to improving test scores…why? So that we can get more kids into college. Because education still sits on the false story that “college is the be all, end all. That we need college to be happy and successful.” If you’ve been listening in on this series, you now have a deeper understanding of why this couldn’t be further from the truth…because it’s impossible for highly unique individuals to follow the same linear path and achieve the same results. Yet, we’re continuously feeding this system that doesn’t work.

So first and foremost, we must take a bulldozer to the landscape that education currently sits on. And that falls into the laps of the big decision-makers.

Administrators– principals, superintendents, directors and other positions in power…

My wish for all of you is to educate yourselves in what produces an happy, healthy, motivated human being in the 21st Century– to take a good, hard look at how different our advanced world is today– and how education’s stubbornness to evolve with it is causing so much suffering for its students. Take a good hard look at the consequences that students face– due to this ignorance. My wish is that you swallow your own egos, place your own financial agenda to the side long enough to talk to and listen to the students and their wants and needs so you can rebuild the educational structure.

My wish for you is to create a new and improved environment that supports the whole child. Remodel the curriculum to help children actually learn by engaging, problem-solving and making mistakes. My wish is that you do away with standardized testing and stop using it as a measure for success. That instead you place emphasize on mental health and use happiness as a measure for success. My wish for you is to support multiple pathways, not be so narrow-minded and push students toward one, single path after graduation.

That is my wish.

We must change the curriculum to match a new ideology.

And that means:

  1. Teaching a child how to uncover their unique talents and passions (which is actually quite simple if given the opportunity. Children are so intuitive, imaginative, creative and are curious creatures by nature, we’re just so quick to squander that all)
  2. It means providing the environment (the autonomy) to actually learn more about these interests– explore, engage, make mistakes, decision-make, think outside the box, problem-solve.
  3. Encourage success for that child (through mind-management and accountability)

The truth is every child is special. But the irony of what we’re seeing today is that parents are telling their kids “you’re special”, yet not letting them figure out what actually makes them special.

What makes them special is their unique story, talents, skills, background, culture, desires, likes, dislikes, personality. That is the truest expression of you and me and it’s what makes us special.

So instead of just telling kids, you’re special, let’s actually support that statement and provide kids the opportunity in school and at home to discover what makes them unique instead of lumping them together like a flock of sheep.

Let’s really listen to our kids and not try to overpower their feelings or thoughts with our authoritative role.

My wish for kids, for students is that you speak up about how you’re feeling and what your authentic self wants and needs. Express your many and ever-changing curiosities to your parents and teachers. Unplug, slow down, reflect and take time for the important things in life. Make the time for things you enjoy doing.

My wish for you is to get to know yourself on a deep level.

Don’t be afraid to explore outside the curriculum because there’s way more to life than just school. There’s a big world out there. So read that book that YOU want to read. Sign up for that class nearby that sounds awesome. Start a project outside of school that you’re passionate about.

My wish for you is to stop living for the future– to stop believing that stress is normal and that if you just work really hard now and get good grades and do things you hate,, then you’ll be happy and successful. Be conscious to when you’re caught up in the rat race.

Define what success looks like for YOU. Don’t just adopt somebody else’s definition of it. Instead, take the time to create your own and live from that place.

Know that it’s OK not to go to college if that is not in alignment for you. Know that there are so many options and avenues to explore in the 21st Century. My wish is that you find the courage to take full control over your life and steer it in the direction of your dreams.

Now there are schools around the nation that are making changes– schools that are striving to provide a more autonomous setting…where students have more freedom to self-explore, form their own identity, make their own decisions and hold themselves accountable…so I don’t want to discredit them and their efforts.

Some schools are incorporating or have fully switched over to project-based learning, where the students can choose what they’re interested in (these independent projects) and get hands on with it.

This type of learning includes a bit of guidance from the teachers, but the students are expected to come up with their own problems and their own solutions. It’s problem based learning, not just “give me the right answer.

This not only gives students the opportunity to engage in things they care about, but it encourages critical thinking, problem solving and it shifts the responsibility from the teachers to the students. This way the students learn how to challenge themselves and persevere even when they fail.

Now this has not been a seamless transition for a lot of schools, specifically high schools. Because the students who finally get the freedom and self-direction they crave, don’t know what to do with it. They’ve been trained for so long to sit still, be passive, memorize information and get the right answer.

This is very hard to untrain. And I know because my clients are very hard to untrain (haha).

But for the educators who are implementing these changes, it’s so important to stay true to the vision for this new way of learning. Obstacles are inevitable. With change, comes chaos. But, just like any worthwhile goal, you must revisit your vision and remember why you started the transformation in the first place.

My wish for you, educators is to continue to encourage your students to engage, ask questions and make mistakes.

My big wish for you is to teach to your own passions and develop projects and assignments that are in alignment with your essential self.

My wish for you is to share your voice on policies impacting education. Be an advocate and part of the change. Advocate for alternatives to standardized testing. Find opportunities to evaluate students without tests. Assign little to no homework and observe what happens with your students.

Care deeply for your students and their individual well-being.

Now, in my personal opinion, there should be a mental-health/ personal-development class in each and every school across the nation from K through 12. Hell if I were president, I’d place several life coaches in each school, if I’m being real. Because at some point, “guidance counselors” morphed into college counselors.

The only meetings I remember with my guidance counselor, Mr. Cunard (lovely man, he’s actually still there) was his agenda, his end goal of sending me and the other A-L students off to college– he would sort through applications with us and scholarships and make sure we got everything in on time. And that’s not to blame Mr. Cunard or any other guidance counselor persae because of course they’re doing their job, right? They’re working under that administrative umbrella.

What I would love to see is a new wave of self-help professionals accessible to students– ideally in a class setting and a 1 on 1 setting. And, yes, I am bias to life coaches, but gosh guys, it would be a beautiful scenario. Even if it takes 50 years for schools to completely reinvent their curriculum, if we could just get some coaches in the door in the interim to at least provide some support for students– actually guiding them to seek their own wants and desires for the future, the level of suffering would decrease tremendously.

With things like depression, addiction, low self-esteem, lack of direction running rampant…imagine a class dedicated to helping students manage their own minds. Helping kids to be more self-aware, choose what they want to believe on purpose, set goals that are important to them. A class designated to teaching students how to navigate their own lives, and increase self-confidence and not care what other people think of them. Imagine a class that helps students manage stress, anxiety, peer pressure, bullying and the negative effects of social media. Imagine a class that puts the child’s mental well-being first so that they’re in complete alignment with who they really are. A class that guides students to live their lives from a place of love, not fear. Imagine how that would spill over into the hallways.

We’re so busy telling kids what to do and what to think and what to be. We’ve gotta cut that out. Parents play a huge role in this.

My wish for parents is to help your child form their own beliefs that feel good and true to them. Notice when your own fears rise to the surface and take responsibility for them, instead of placing your fears onto your child.

My wish is that you open your eyes to the very different world we live in today and recognize that how success was achieved 50 years ago is no longer relevant. Be conscious of your own judgements and limiting beliefs about the world and other people, and be cautious not to unload them onto your child.

My wish for you is to not assume that you know what is best for your child’s future. But instead, talk to your child about their interests, desires, passions, ideas and values. Get to know your child deeply and allow him/ her the space and support to get to know themselves deeply. Love your child for everything they are and for everything they grow to be. Love and respect what brings them joy for the simple fact that it brings them joy.

When choosing schools, allow your child to be 100% a part of the process. Guide them in making the best decision for him/ her. If going to college is in alignment for them, help them choose the best fit school, not the “best school” according to arbitrary rankings.

Allow your child to make mistakes, it’s OK. Failure is a part of life and when we shield children from failure, we shield them from growing.

My wish is that you pay attention to your child’s stress levels and mental well-being. Make it a habit to ask your child how they’re feeling today, instead of “what grade did you get on your test?” Praise your child for their efforts, not their scores. Praise your child for seeking their own approval and managing their own emotions, not seeking the approval from others.

And lastly, don’t allow homework and other academic demands overpower what’s really important = family, friends, play, downtime, sleep and fun.

And last but not least my friends, my wish for post-grads– the young adults who are struggling to find their true identity and place in the world. The people who are currently facing the consequences of a faulty system.

My wish for you is that you awaken to the TRUTH of why you’re so confused and lost in your life. I hope that you come to realize the root cause of your suffering is because you’ve followed the rules your entire life in effort to please other people. I hope that this realization hits you hard, so much so, that it’s enough to consciously decide, from this day forward, that you’re in control and you will never seek the answers outside of yourself ever again.

My hope is that you find the strength and have enough fight in you to unlearn what you’ve been taught and let go of who you thought you were in order to become and embrace who you’re meant to be.

My hope is that you seek the necessary guidance and commit to identifying what intrinsically motivates you– the place where your greatest strength meets your greatest passion.

After a lifetime of doing what you thought you should do and what you were told to do, my wish for you is to find the courage to go your own way and live your life on your terms. Because you deserve to live the most amazing and beautiful life that’s in alignment with your truest self, deepest self. And you deserve to live that life, without any apologies.

That’s it for today guys. Thank you so much for listening as always. I’ll see you next time.

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