Seriously: nobody is more surprised than I to confirm that I will join “a panel of education experts” for the first installment of ASCD’s “Whole Child Symposium” at the “WCS Town Hall” this Sunday in Los Angeles. ASCD’s Sean Slade, who will moderate this panel, generously invited me to join the accomplished ranks of Steven Anderson, Goof Buijs, Liz Dwyer, Thomas Hoerr, Didier Jourdan, and Sara Truebridge to explore and to discuss the Whole Child Symposium’s central theme:
CHOOSING YOUR TOMORROW TODAY
What does this phrase mean to you? Probably your first thought is that it conveys an understanding that what we decide today affects what we become tomorrow. Obviously skills, behaviors, and knowledge learned today increase or decrease the potential for us all to do things in the future. But is there more to this phrase? Can it be parsed out? Take each word, one at a time…
When I reflect on the phrase — and begin to examine its constituent terms singly, and in various combinations — I think of the Covenant to Inspire Learning and Development (C.H.I.L.D.) that was crowdsourced at a CFEE event last year by educators and parents reflecting on their shared hopes for their children’s learning, shaped by a group of leading voices on teaching and parenting, and leveraged by participants in their local communities to reflect on goals and strategies for change. When I reflect on the phrase, I think of Carla Rinaldi’s prophecy that “We will find the new and the future in those places where new forms of human coexistence, participation, and co-participation are tried out.” When I reflect on the phrase, I think about Ken Robinson’s assertion that “‘The Education System’ is not what happens in the anteroom to Arne Duncan’s office, or in the debating halls of our state capitals… If you are a teacher, you are ‘the education system’ for the children in your classroom.” When I reflect on the phrase, I think about the efforts engendered in the birth of #PubPriBridge to unite private and public school educators in a common conversation to support the needs of all learners, in all sectors, in a “third narrative” about learning. And when I reflect on the phrase, I think about the transformative energy of last week’s gathering of the Network for Public Education, at which some 400 of us began to believe — truly and irrevocably to believe — that we are just now crossing the “threshold,” as John Kuhn referred to it, of “an Education Spring.” And as I reflect on the phrase now, I begin to wonder, about the seasons that will follow this “Education Spring” once we “reclaim,” as Diane Ravitch promised, “our schools as kind and friendly places for teaching and learning.”
But at some level, in these days leading up to the WCS Town Hall, it’s more important for me to learn what you think when you reflect on the phrase, than to settle on my own views. To that end, please do me a ‘solid’ by sharing any thoughts you have about the denotations, connotations, or implications of the phrase “Choosing your tomorrow today.” I would welcome any comments you’d provide below, and simply ask that you also copy them to the comments on the ASCD Whole Child blog to inform the broader conversation leading towards, and following, this weekend’s interchange.
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You can follow Chris Thinnes on Twitter at @ChrisThinnes