It is our goal to help ambitious and visionary educators both transform existing schools and create new schools that prepare their students for life in 2050. To that end, we have designed a new Paideia school accreditation program which will result in true Schools for Creative Thinking, supported by the newest publication in the Paideia tradition, The New Smart: How Nurturing Creativity Will Help Children Thrive.
Written by the National Paideia Center’s director, Dr. Terry Roberts, this 2019 book (available in our online store) brings the Paideia Program into the social and cultural milieu of the 21st century. Dr. Roberts draws on a wide variety of sources to explore the nature of human life in decades to come, with the explicit purpose of defining a wise contemporary education.
The New Smart describes the mid-century world in which the students who are currently in schools around the globe will reach the approximate middle of their personal and professional lives. Life in this fractured and asynchronous world will be unexpectedly global, volatile, communal, and long. Our traditional notions of standardized intelligence and standardized schooling no longer hold in a world where success is, by definition, unpredictable and mercurial.
A New Kind of Schooling
What is called for now is a new kind of schooling that in turn produces a new kind of graduate. That graduate, the woman or man who will thrive in this century, will exhibit a creative profile rather than pursue a pre-existing career or profession. Everything we know suggests these creative individuals will have the following traits:
- They will blend multiple intelligences in a way that might be described as synthetic or even symphonic;
- They will be ambitious and focused without being self-obsessed;
- They will value asynchrony and even seek it out;
- They will use their own marginality to generate novel perspective and new work;
- They will exhibit a steadfast resilience in all phases of life; and
- They will be measured by what they produce over the course of a lifetime, not by any static notion of capacity or quotient.
In order to nurture this type of creative individual—resilient, focused, productive—schools will have to re-create themselves within a new paradigm. These new schools will:
- Feature cross-curricular and multi-disciplinary work more than subject-specific work;
- Address the many multiple intelligences both separately and in creative blends;
- Feature a faculty who are themselves experts in their fields, creating multiple master-and-apprentice opportunities;
- Offer ample opportunity for students to work in teams as well as through individual performance;
- Stress group and individual assessment that is ongoing and collaborative rather than standardized and summative;
- Stress quality production and performance based on multiple drafts or repeated practices and rehearsals;
- Teach the use of technology for research or production and discourage internet and social media distraction;
- Feature learning experiences that foster resilience and focus rather than compliance and certainty; and finally,
- Create these experiences for all students, not for a select few.
Join us in our quest to create schools that truly prepare students for the future, not the past: Paideia Schools for Creative Thinking.
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