Having just returned from the 21C Global Educational Leadership Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, Green School’s mission statement feels more important than ever. 21C Learning is an organization that focuses on sharing best practices about learning in schools to best prepare students to meet the challenges of the 21st century. To that end, they brought together some of the leading progressive schools and programs from around the world to share their practices and help other schools implement progressive programs into their schools.
I got together with schools such as High Tech High, Think Global School, Singapore American School, Harbour School, Hong Kong and Hangzhou, CIS to share our success and missteps along the way and discuss ways in which we can all further progressive education in the world to best prepare student to face today’s challenges and opportunities.
The common themes that dominated the weekend were; Entrepreneurial learning, fostering 21st century skills, project-based learning, student passion projects and connecting students to communities. There were many examples of schools implementing one or two of these programs to great success. Green School stood out as one of the very few schools implementing programs focused on all of these things. However, I came away feeling that our mission to create a learning environment focused on making our world sustainable is our most vital contribution to the educational world.
I sat on a panel with leaders of other schools described as the ‘Lone Nuts’. We were a group of schools who broke the mold and fearlessly created our own versions of a school. Among these nuts, Green School was the only one with a primary focus on educating for sustainability.
Among the other schools in the audience, sustainability didn’t even enter the conversation without Green School in the context. If we are to have any hope of steering the natural and human systems in our world toward sustainability, it is vital that the next generations have a critical mass of leaders and citizens who have an understanding of the principles of sustainability. We need to create a generation of systems thinkers who can see the big picture of how our human systems interact with each other and with the Earth’s natural systems. We need to be aware of how these systems effect and rely upon one another. We need to be able to identify the leverage points that will help us to steer systems toward sustainability.
Green School is well positioned to not only get educating for sustainability into the global educational conversation, but to help ensure it soon becomes normal for schools to implement such learning. Being a part of a community of learners focused on making our world sustainable is an honor, a privilege, and a worthy mission.
Head of Upper School
Green School Bali
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