Bill Drayton defines Changemakers as:
“…people who can see the patterns around them, identify the problems in any situation, figure out ways to solve the problem, organize fluid teams, lead collective action and then continually adapt as situations change.”
David Brooks, an Op-Ed Columnist for The New York Times, wrote an inspiring piece about Changemakers this past weekend. He surfaced a concern I share about independent schools across Asia, which is where I see very few kids acting to solve problems they see. To be fair, they aren’t given much time or space to see the problem and most problems they work on are spoon fed to them. They are so consumed by achieving ever loftier learning targets that they have very little time to connect with the real world. Teachers, as well, are under so much pressure to ensure students achieve those learning targets that they resist any collaborative work that doesn’t directly support those targets.
David Brooks really put into perspective the work I do with educators and gave it new meaning. I want to be a Changemaker by capacity building teachers to go beyond their classroom and work with colleagues to achieve transformative outcomes. I want those educators to be Changemakers and demonstrate to students that by working with colleagues across the school they can make their work more purposeful and easier. I want them to instill in students that in order to achieve change you must be willing to work even harder than you do now to set the stage for that level of collaboration. It’s taking that first step that ultimately derails transformative collaboration. If as educators we can’t demonstrate how to work across disciplines to solve problems in our own school, how can we expect our students to go into the world and solve much larger societal problems. If we can’t invest the additional time to establish the framework and relationships to work across the school, how can we expect students to work across industries and cultures.
Secondary education that enables refugee youth to become the leaders, entrepreneurs and peacemakers of tomorrow.
A great example of what this level of transformation looks like is the Sky School, and above is it’s vision. I am really excited to be promoting this initiative founded by a group of graduates from the United World College in Singapore (UWCSEA), in cooperation with Stuart MacAlpine, UWCSEA’s Director of Education. Stuart and I began a discussion close to a year ago as to how we could develop the leadership capability of curriculum coordinators to be more influential in their schools. The output of our collaboration will be a two-day workshop, cofacilitated by Rami Madani. These gentlemen will not only share their experience and vision for how curriculum coordinators can achieve transformative collaboration amongst educators, but they are also donating their fees to the Sky School.
At 5 I don’t believe my daughter is too young to be a Changemaker and how I can assess this is very clear:
Once a kid has had an idea, built a team and changed her world, she’s a changemaker. She has the power. She’ll go on to organize more teams. She will always be needed.