Giving Compass’ Take:
• Learner-centered environments are helpful for students to find their purpose and grow a sense of identity and path toward success.
• How is your local school system promoting learner-centered environments? How should donors encourage these shifts in school to center on the student?
As I navigate my mid-40s, I notice friends and colleagues of similar ages making significant life changes — switching careers, reevaluating relationships and finding life coaches. We live in a society that regards the idea of a mid-life crisis as a given, inviting a burgeoning industry of courses, retreats and coaches that preach they can support a process of self-discovery and ensure adults live the second half of their lives grounded in meaning and purpose.
Research indicates that having a sense of purpose is positively correlated to one’s mental and emotional well-being. It generates the feeling that individuals can contribute to something larger than themselves by integrating their gifts, passions and values into whatever they choose to pursue.
Developmentally, the period from late childhood through early adolescence is when humans are primed to develop strong bonds with their community, gain a sense of identity and uncover a desire to discover their purpose. Yet our education system, including public district, public charter, private and independent schools, is designed in a way that neglects to meet this deeply human need. Instead, it is structured around a belief that academic knowledge and skills provide the foundation for our children’s lifelong success. The journey to self-discovery — getting to know themselves — can wait.
So why don’t we transform the focus of education? At Education Reimagined, we engage with young people around the country about the learning experiences they truly need to be successful — and they tell us that they are tired of waiting to feel fulfilled. They are tired of being told to buckle down and learn things they don’t care about at all. Students are more engaged in extracurricular activities that align with their passions and interests than they are in our formal education system, where rates of disengagement continue to climb.
Learner-centered environments have been emerging in pockets across the country to fulfill this need, empowering young people to find, and realize, their sense of purpose.
Read the full article about a students’ sense of purpose by Ulcca Joshi Hansen at The 74.
K-12 Education is a complex topic, and others found these selections from the Impact Giving archive from Giving Compass to be good resources.
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If you are interested in Children and Youth, please see these relevant events, training, conferences or volunteering opportunities the Giving Compass team recommends.
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