Healthy Learning is Possible
There is a vast ocean separating healthy learning and the current education system. Education continues to program young people to be good and obedient boys and girls.
But can you imagine daily group conversations on how we live healthy lives and contribute to the world? What about learning how to be thoughtful, considerate, compassionate and forgiving?
Imagine a learning environment where young people can be part of a peer culture where each member of the community is purpose-driven. And, each one owns a healthy learning journey based on what’s valuable to them. Luckily for us, someone did imagine and created a system of healthy learning with the hope that more will be created over time all over the world.
But before we go there, let’s take a look at the current system.
Today’s System of Education
Young people today find themselves in increasing challenging situations where they are faced with more and more problems to solve. There is a 3x increase in teen suicides since high school became the norm in the United States. And, a 20% increase in teen suicides every school year during the academic year.
And yet the model of our school system is essentially, “Let’s force teens to do things they hate so they can be ‘prepared’ for an outdated life path. That’s either the work of an evil genius or some kind of cruel joke,” according to Michael Strong.
When it comes to the conventional education system, Michael shares we are witnessing the following: “New collar” bootcamp enrollment (coding, UX/UI, digital marketing, cybersecurity, etc.) is up 11x in recent years. College enrollment is down 10%. Meanwhile, 93% of freelancers say skills are more important than degrees.
Many top employers no longer require degrees (e.g. Apple, Google, IBM, Bank of America, Penguin Random House, Home Depot, Costco, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Hilton, and Tesla).
Only 43% of recent high school grads regard college as “very important” as opposed to 70% just five years ago. Both the income and wealth premium of college have declined significantly in recent years.
Half of all colleges report that more than 50% of their graduates earn less than a high school graduate six years after enrolling. 65% of college graduates regret their college degrees, including 75% of humanities majors. 48% of college graduates are in jobs that require less than a college degree.”
Healthy Learning is in Motion
“Mentally I live in a world in which “schools, as they currently operate,” no longer exist,” shares Michael.
His Socratic Experience offers programs based on the Socratic method—a dialogue between instructor and students characterized by constantly probing questions. Why? To uncover a student’s underlying beliefs that form their perspective and opinions. This approach to healthy learning helps children and teens develop their unique genius and prepares them to thrive.
As a pioneer and visionary, Michael is developing a future in which education is completely different from what it is now. He is not interested in fixing or saving the current school system. Just like there is no need to fix broken typewriters, stationary dial up phones, or film cameras.
He shares, “This technology is obsolete. I am curious how we get the iPhone of education into everyone’s hands now so that in ten years kids are as mystified by the notion of the current K-12 education system as they are by typewriters or pay phones.”You used to have to do what to get an education?” They will ask their parents.
Once young people no longer have to sit bored for six hours per day, over 13 years, they can be engaged in environments where they are doing cool things they see as valuable to their futures. For example, learning personal finance basics could be something they imbibe while playing a game or developing an entrepreneurial project without realizing they’re learning.
Healthy Systems of Learning
According to LanguageHumanities.org, “The Socratic Method is one of the oldest and most powerful approaches to teaching and developing critical thinking skills. By removing pretenses of certainty, the method aims to provoke a deeper understanding of any subject matter. Basically, you must question everything; leave no possibility untouched.”
The Socratic Experience is a virtual secondary school nurturing the purpose and genius of every child. Specializing in creative, intellectual, it addressed the needs of entrepreneurial students who find regular school unsatisfying. A school for students who hate going to school but love learning.
An environment where teachers don’t instruct students to a particular understanding of a text or idea. Rather, students have access to a mentor, who provides encouragement, fosters discussion among peers, and insight—the learning is student-led.
Students ask questions, seek out answers, have a deeper understanding of the material, and develop strong critical thinking and language skills that are vital to learning. There is equal weight given to STEM topics as well as liberal arts, making sure all subjects are covered.
Michael reminds us that “Young people are finding lots of social options online. I think there is something about having your core learning community, be part of your social community.”
This may not be for everyone, yet, but imagine how the emerging world can be constructed with pioneers experimenting until we can have different options available based on needs. With experimentation, we can learn and evolve to a world where we build healthy systems for the vast majority. But we need to take the first steps of playing with what’s possible. Imagine a world where young people are passionate opportunity-creators of lifelong learning.