The River in Which We Are Swimming: making sense of the global renaissance in education

The last 25 years has seen remarkable innovations and novel approaches in education. Diverse initiatives have spread around the world,  stemming from a deep longing for change, for the possibility to give children rich soils to grow in that will support them to become who they are, and to help our societies address the deep changes needed in the coming decades.  What prevents these innovations from spreading more widely?

Our experience points to two major limitations: lack of clarity and consensus around our overarching focus and lack of sophistication in leading and managing the change process. Across diverse success stories, we see three main recurring themes:  understanding and caring for self (mind-body system), understanding and caring for other (social system), and understanding and caring for the larger systems (community, economy and ecology).

Leading systemic change that can become ongoing and self-reinforcing requires a deep commitment to “be the change” needed – namely, integrating the internal and the external, creating spaces for change rather than trying to dictate and control, and never losing sight of how “I” and “we,” the change leaders, may need to change ourselves.