Empower the Student: Episode 5 with May Ling Thomas​

I invite you to listen to a conversation I had a little while ago with Fabienne Vailes and Steve Schecter as part of their new series “EMPOWER THE STUDENT: A Blueprint for the Future of Education“.

In advance of the conversation they asked me some questions, the first two of which were:

  1. When we say “empower the student” what does that mean to you?
  2. What personal experience makes “empower the student” meaningful for you?

I have to admit, my first response was to reply that I don’t consider children as ‘students’ because we work in partnership with them, and I don’t feel I need to ’empower’ them as much as not disempower them. I wasn’t sure they’d want to talk to me after that!

But it turns out that my honesty and the openness of Fabienne and Steve was a great platform for a conversation that was really real and alive.

If we stop thinking of children as students, and instead think of them as human beings, how would it change the way we see them?

How would it change the way we we view education?

How would we change the way we see the role of parents and communities in raising children?

How would we change the economic system to support that vision?

In this podcast we cover

  • school as childcare and a replacement for the family support structure.
  • how school embodies the work now, be happy later ethos that stops us from stopping and reflecting on what we’re doing right now.
  • how when we trust learning through living and let go of control we experience life as relaxing and fulfilling.
  • how we as a society seem to believe children are inherently bad – for no good reason
  • how children learn through need and interest
  • that ‘when needed’ should be factored into the curriculum, because the time may come later – or it may never come at all!
  • cultivating awareness in children that good people can make bad decisions and it doesn’t make them bad people.


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