The belief - Schools need to prepare themselves for a new world by thinking harder about how they are educating. Schools need to reinvent themselves for four reasons; early education matters, progress in understanding the brain, future generations enter a very different world than we did, and teaching practices are changing to support these developments.
Early Education Matters- because early interventions matter; 300 billion brain neurons at birth become 1000 trillion by 3 years. But progress accelerates; 1 year (conscious of adult expectations), 2 years (pretend play links to intellect at 5), 3 years (30 million word gap), 4 years (vocab indicates Grade 3 literacy success), 5 years (90% of brain development and 50% of all learning) till 6 years (100% self-esteem development). Children who start behind- stay behind.
Progress in understanding the brain- has led to important second order effects for education like the Flynn Effect (rising IQ's over the last century), along with falling Grit (Angela Duckworth's research on persistence representing intelligence). Carol Dweck's path breaking work on growth vs fixed mindset is helping us bring together the scientific understanding of the plasticity of the brain with teaching practise and indeed also parenting. The new world is important; the pressure for edutainment is huge but its clear there is an element of eat your vegetables in education. Rote learning is less important in a world of always-on internet and education needs to target the IB learner profile and attitudes; to nurture children to be knowledgeable, risk-takers, communicators, reflective, open-minded, inquirers who show curiosity, confidence, respect, integrity and empathy. This validates poet William Butler Yeats who wrote "education is not the filling of a bucket but the lighting of a fire".
Change in the world of work- where automation means that reading, writing, and soft skills are becoming the most important employability skills. The one skill that we know our children will need is the ability to relearn all the time. To try things, to come back, read, try new things, come back read and learn more, and go back again.
Teachers are not going anywhere but pedagogical practices are changing. A good school is not hardware but good teachers and the re-invention of schools starts with how we think about them. Good schools have a shared vision, Collaborative practice, Distributed leadership, Performance management rather than performance appraisal, and a cohesive, engaging, rigorous curriculum. Teachers move from didactic teaching of content to teaching of skills, creators of inquiry, and differentiation experts who are transdisciplinary, able to connect concepts across learning areas or subjects. The context of schools is changing; kids are spending more time in school, they receive more communication from teachers, watch more TV, have higher exposure and are also tech savvy, content is easily available, and goals tend to change quickly.
A good school is one that blunts weaknesses, builds on strengths and has inspiring, capable teachers. This is the kind of school that Neev is set up to be and aspires to stay.
At Neev, our mission is to be the benchmark of excellence in education in India. Neev really is a very special learning community and I would be delighted to welcome you for a visit.
Kavita Gupta Sabharwal