It’s been fascinating to follow Big Change’s global insight series called A New Education Story. As people all around the world are forced to think about education and learning in new ways, it feels like the time is right to create a new education story together. The series is bringing together a brilliant and diverse group of thinkers and pioneering leaders to share their experiences and debate some of the biggest questions the education sector is facing today.
I’ve become close with several of the contributors from different Strive Challenges and Big Change’s global gatherings, where we have had many deep conversations about our own education experiences, so it’s brilliant to see these conversations being shared with the world.
The series kicked off with a conversation between my daughter, Holly, and Stephen Tierney who has been putting purpose at the heart of education for the past 30 years. It was insightful to hear from someone who has spent so much time in the UK education system, and it was a humble reminder about resources limitations. We can’t put all of the onus on teachers to create these big system changes – we all have a role to play. If we want to turn ideas into actions, we need to be realistic and resourceful. I loved reading the list of questions he asks when faced with a new project to ensure it aligns with your purpose too.
I was fascinated, as always, by reading Adam Grant’s thought process on why we need to teach collaboration and why it might be time for a ‘Declaration of Interdependence’ in the schoolyard. I had some really insightful conversations with Adam on the 2019 Strive Challenge – most of which revolved around how to better prepare students for the world of work, and why schools need to place a much bigger focus on cooperation and teamwork. As Adam says in the article: “We owe it to our students to teach them that no-one succeeds alone.” As an organisational psychologist, Adam’s article was full of interesting studies which highlighted the case for collaboration. I found one study about cardiac surgeons particularly interesting. According to the research, a cardiac surgeon’s patient mortality rate is not predicted by the number of procedures they’ve done individually, but by the experience they’ve had collaborating with the team of nurses and anaesthesiologists at each hospital.
I was also moved by Simon Sinek and George The Poet’s conversation, where they reflected on their own education stories and posed the question: “Where does a thirst for learning come from?” I personally found a love of learning as a teenager when I began to follow the news and became absorbed (and sometimes alarmed) by what was happening around the world. We weren’t learning about these important issues in school, but I’m sure we would have found more life-long learners and active citizens if we did.
The series has discussed everything from taking a whole-society approach to education, to parents becoming learning allies, and using technology to empower learning. I’m particularly excited to read Sara Blakely’s contribution after sharing many memories of our own journeys from education to entrepreneurship. I’m always keen to hear Katie Griggs’ – founder and CEO of Made By Dyslexia – opinion when it comes to inclusive education, so I’m very much looking forward to her piece as well.
In a year of immense disruption for education, it’s refreshing to see this new education story being imagined. Thank you to Big Change for starting this important conversation and to all of the great contributors so far – Professor Dame Alison Peacock, Richard Culatta, Rebecca Winthrop, Gregg Behr, Simon Sinek, George The Poet, Adam Grant, Otto Scharmer, Tom Fletcher, Andreas Schleicher, Holly Branson and Stephen Tierney.
You can find out more about the series, and get involved in the discussions right here. Do you have your own contribution to creating a #NewEducationStory? Use the hashtag to share your thoughts.