Imagine a world where entire school districts are going beyond the status-quo education path of tests and books and really inspiring the next generation of innovators and changemakers. This world is within reach today. Such collaborative education ecosystems will help tip history towards a safer and more prosperous people and planet.
Whether you are a parent, journalist, artist, entrepreneur, or teacher, all of us have a role to play in realizing an 'Everyone a Changemaker' World (EACH). Teachers play an instrumental role in the social development of a young person. Many people can point to one teacher in their academic journey that inspired them to reach far, innovate and create.
Teachers influence how students will shape our world. This is why Ashoka's Youth Venture continues to leverage partnerships in which teachers integrate the core skills of Empathy, Team-work, Leadership and Changemaking in their Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculums. By doing so, teachers can shape these students into future changemakers.
A long-time ally in this effort with Youth Venture is the Anne Arundel County Schools and its passionate STEM teacher network. For the last four months, Youth Venture has been partnering with the Anne Arundel School County--a county with 70,000 students and more than 5,000 teachers-- to integrate changemaking skills into STEM education. This is a case where an entire school district and teacher network are gradually building an EACH environment in their community with class activities that promote empathy, team-work and problem solving.
To get to this point, these brave teachers and school administrators have been participating in changemaker workshops led by Youth Venture. In a recent training, teachers shared what progress they are making and how to navigate certain challenges. Several teachers reported that their new out-of-the-box activities for changemaking draw out an unprecedented energy amongst students. More and more kids are also demonstrating creative problem solving skills.
Educators also report that both teachers and students are reinvigorated about education and what it means to have a collaborative educational environment, as opposed to one where students are tuned-out and disengaged at top-down approaches to teaching. These new approaches are helping kids discover their voice and their ability to make a positive mark in our world of accelerating change.
Beyond the reporting of successes, the teacher trainings also provide an important support network for teachers bravely employing new methods and exercises on empathy, team-work, leadership and changemaking. For these changemaker teachers, the journey has only just begun.
As a result of changemaker teacher trainings, students are excited at discovering their inner-changemaker and experimenting with ideas on how to identify problems and make their schools and communities better.
If you are a teacher or school administrator interested in joining a growing education community of teacher-changemakers, contact Youth Venture. No step is too small in trying to inspire and promote the next generation of change agents in society.
Follow #SparkAACPS for daily updates on twitter from Anne Arundel Teachers! Below are some examples of how changemaking in the classroom is empowering the next generation.