an open invitation to our educators
Learning cannot be designed. Learning happens, design or no design. And yet there are few more urgent tasks than to design social infrastructures that foster learning. Those who can understand the informal, yet structured, experiential yet social, character of learningâ€”and can translate their insight in the service of learningâ€”will be the architects of tomorrow.
Etienne Wenger Communities of Practice Michael E. Summers (1999) ÂŠ2010
Dear Valued Educator: So why are we here? E3 is a website dedicated to what we term the “three pillars of reform,” education, health and fitness and community outreach. What do we hope to accomplish? We hope, as a threshold matter, to serve as a resource—a silent partner if you will—for teachers, parents, principals, pedagogues, policymakers, school boards, district administrators, business and corporate leaders and anyone else from the public or private sector interested in the current state of education, meaningful education reform and holistic community outreach. We hope to provide an online forum—open and readily accessible to anyone—for thoughtful debate on what we must do, individually, collectively and institutionally in order to better reach our children, better teach our children and better prepare all of our children to compete and succeed in the global economy of the 21st century. Third, and perhaps most importantly, we hope to make a compelling case for change. Because right now, more than at any time in our nation’s history, access to a quality education serves as the gatekeeper to the American Dream. Our mission is to ensure that this dream remains real and accessible to all children. So where do we start? This one is easy. As profoundly simple as it may sound, we start by beginning a conversation. We start by simply talking. *************
Why is talking so important? Because, as noted by author Margaret Whetley: Conversation is the most ancient and easiest way to cultivate the conditions for change—personal change, community and organizational change, planetary change. If we can sit together and talk about what’s important to us, we begin to come alive. For as long as we’ve been around as humans, as wandering bands of nomads or cave dwellers, we have sat together and shared experiences. We’ve painted images on rock walls, recounted dreams and visions, told stories of the day, and generally felt comforted to be in the world together. When the world became fearsome, we came together. When the world called us to explore its edges, we journeyed together. Whatever we did, we did it together. Margaret Wheatley Turning to One Another (2006)
So let’s talk. Let’s talk about choice, about change and about the challenges our children will face in an increasingly global society. Let’s talk about what it means to “modernize” our schools, what “21st century pedagogy” is, what “21st century classrooms” should look like and how we can best support the unique learning preferences of today’s “21st century students.” Let’s talk, openly and honestly, about our fears, ourSo obstacles who among and our youconcerns, shall lead? but let’s not stop there. Let’s talk about solutions. Let’s talk about how we can better reach our students, better teach our students and better prepare all of our students to compete and to thrive in the 21st century. Because together, we can make a difference. Together, we can change lives. We’ve created an open forum for discussion. And we’re extending an open invitation to our educators.
THE WORK OF MIKE SUMMERS
W r i t t e n i n D e c e m b e r, 2 0 0 9