Evolutionary purpose – follow the curiosity, follow the needs
I have often found myself in front of my class getting that feeling; the children are curious in something but the curriculum – the prescribed learning, predicted and controlled – is telling me to stick to the rigid path. First do A and then do B.
Sometimes as teachers we go off the rigid path and take learning in the direction our children want to go. We do this through sensing the needs of the human beings we are interacting with on a daily basis. We see that today, at this moment, this is a good direction for them. It will feed their curiosity, fire their natural desire to learn.
But then again, to be honest, most of the times we choose the curriculum. We find ourselves asking the children to recite their learning goal for today like parrots. We do this to tick a box which says we are engaging children in the process of learning. We are not! We are simply training them to say the right thing to the inspector, during inspection. This method also enables schools to have control over teachers, maintaining a uniformed methodology which is easy to control, rather than allowing natural human interactions to flourish during the process of learning.
So, control systems seem to control us. Go figure. They might be there to guarantee equality in learning, but what they do is diminish actual learning and increase inequality.
If you have some experience with children then you know, no children are alike. Schools organise children into groups according to their birth years. This stamp is supposed to inform us of where they are in their education, what they need to know more of, and where to go next.
This is machine thinking. Machine thinking has helped us to arrive to where we are today, but in order to move forwards, to grow in our thinking to find solutions to the problems we face today and in the future, we need to exchange the machine thinking approach and engage more deeply with evolutionary purpose in schools.
Yesterday, as I engaged in my yoga class and found myself being guided into different poses, I listened to the Yoga teacher’s words:
“Feel into the pose, remain connected to what is happening here right now. Use your breath to be a little more courageous and discover what happens next.”
I thought of my class imagining talking to children in that way. What are you interested in, what are your questions? You are safe to ask them. Now let’s use your questions and see what we can learn. It’s challenging you, let’s explore this. How does it help you grow as a learner? What more are you curious about? I would love to hear these questions in a classroom.
That is Evolutionary purpose sensing into, going with curiosity of the human beings in your class. Instead too many children face experiences were the learning is already mapped out. There are many great examples in schools that are breaking the machine approach in learning and taking on an Evolutionary Purpose perspective, sensing and responding to the curiosity of the children in their classrooms with open minds (ESBZ in Berlin, Agora school in the Netherlands, many Democratic schools that are using Sociocracy as their structure, Learnlife in Barcelona etc.)
Knowing that children are not all alike and honouring their learning journeys as something beautiful and unique to them positively impacts children as lifelong learners; who make enquiries, who are curious problem solvers, who are adaptable. The world is allowed to be viewed through many lenses with a genuine respect for diversity.
So, in short Evolutionary purpose in a school seen as an organism means being real, sensing in, forming genuine interests in the children that are present, living and setting an example of interacting with the environments we move in using the heart, mind and body to fully connect.
With eyes wide open, children learn to make choices that nourish them and others.