Is the Country Ready for an Aligned Education?
Is the Country Ready for an Aligned Education?
Yes, yes we are.
We are ready for an aligned education because we believe in freedom, opportunity, and the pursuit of happiness. We believe in the future, and in a better world for our children. As a culture, we place value on having an education system that gives every child a chance to reach for his dreams; that gives every child a chance to become the best she can be. We believe that education can set children up for success; that it can open the world up before them.
What is alignment?
We can divide our life experience by a line between our internal and external experience.
It is a fine, but important, line between this internal and external experience. When how we are behaving, what we are doing in our physical, external world, does not match up with what we truly believe and value in our internal world we often have an experience of in-congruence, some call it dissonance, or cognitive dissonance. When how we are behaving and what we are doing in the external world and what we truly believe and value in our internal world line up, we call that being aligned.
Alignment feels right, we sense that things are congruent; our internal and external experiences are congruent.
How does alignment apply to education?
V.R. Taneja writes in her book, “Socio-Philosophical Approach to Education” that:
“The word ‘education’ is derived from the Latin word educare, which means ‘to bring up’. There is yet another Latin word ‘educere’, which means ‘to bring forth’. Education, therefore, means both to bring forth as well as to bring up. … Accordingly, education does not merely mean the acquisition of knowledge or experience but it means to develop the habits, attitudes and skills that help a (hu)man to lead a full and worthwhile life.” (p.7)
To “develop the habits, attitudes and skills which help a (hu)man to lead a full and worthwhile life.” Which begs the question, what is a full and worthwhile life?
Thomas Jefferson wrote, in 1776 in the Declaration of Independence, that we are each endowed with certain inalienable Rights, and that, among these, are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. At the time, making this statement, claiming the rights of the colonists, against the crown of England was perceived as an act of treason. Jefferson, and the other signers of the Declaration, were putting their lives on the line for ideals they believed in; that they should not be held under the rule of a foreign leader who was neither present to or invested in their own well-being, indeed in them having the experience of a full and worthwhile life.
What is an aligned education and why is it important?
An aligned education is when we are engaging in learning that helps us to “develop the habits, attitudes and skills which help a (hu)man to lead a full and worthwhile life” that is aligned with who we truly, uniquely, dynamically are. It is not standardized tests. It is not an industrial-like system that expects every student, and educator, to behave as if we are all uniform parts in a machine. It is not students and educators being under the rule of outside forces that are not present to our unique everyday life, happiness and well-being. It is not victim/perpetrator, us/them, mechanical, standardized, rote memorization, critical eye on the participant, as if being able to follow directions means someone is learning. It is not a nexus of control pressing down on individuals from outside. It is not a system that exists to get you to fit in and serve it.
Aligned education is when you and knowledge are magnetized to each other. It is a container big enough to hold the infinite possibilities of each of us, unique, beautiful beings while also structured enough to provide boundaries and support for moving forward. It is a nexus of control that comes from inside, that is driven by connection, by the pursuit of happiness. An aligned education is dynamic and personal, your unique gifts and talents guide it, and it exists to serve you in your learning, in your right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
To summarize, aligned education is:
- Dynamic, personally driven, empowered engagement
- You are drawn to knowledge and it is drawn to you
- Infinite possibilities with healthy boundaries and structures
The conventional system of education is focused on getting students to fit in, to align with the norms and expectations of people outside of themselves. The underlying belief that people are broken and that it is in the best interest of the social good to fix them so that they will march in lock step with the norms, expectations and needs of the larger culture, with no awareness of their own, individual alignment is foundational to maintaining the unaligned status quo. Conventional grading is a perfect example of this. It is built on the premise that someone outside of the student can both figure out what the student needs to learn and if the student has actually learned it.
The trouble is, learning is a process that happens in a person’s internal experience, where things cannot be measured. And if that student has a drive, indeed, a purpose, to be learning something different then what they are being directed to, well, that student is too often labeled as a problem and all sorts of resources and energy go towards attempting to get that student back in to line. Again, not into alignment with themselves, back into line with the external norms and expectations of a group and system that is not capable of seeing, measuring or understanding what is truly going on in the internal world of this student.
Is the country ready for an aligned education? Yes, yes it is. We are already starting. There are many places where it is already happening. Schools where students chose their curriculum. Educators who believe in infinite possibilities for every student; families who weave together opportunities that match the needs and personalities of their unique kids; Individuals who refuse to accept limitations and, instead, engage with their education from the center of who they are. Coaches who find the strength and gift of a kid and never give up on helping that kid. Each of us who puts our own alignment before anything else, each of us who knows that when we are aligned we are the living, breathing embodiment of what is possible for humanity.
It is the leading edge, fun, beautiful, engaged place from which we each, individually and collectively, lead a full and worthwhile life. Treason to conventional thinking is loyalty to human possibility.
When what we value and believe is reflected in how we behave in the world, that is alignment.
An aligned education is an engaged opportunity for every single one of us to be a part of systems and structures, of policies and procedures, of boots on the ground, day-to-day interactions with kids that line up with what we truly value. A system of education that honors the uniqueness of each individual, that supports individualized, developmentally appropriate, engaged, life-affirming, fun learning. A learning culture filled with opportunity and space for personal curiosity to drive learning.
An aligned education is vitally important because our world needs the brilliance of each individual, the problem solving ability, creativity, unique perspective; as life expands so too does our need for an education that is grounded in the knowing that no one is expendable.
When an education is aligned with who a person is, and who they are becoming, it is fun, it is engaging, it is connected, so much more is happening. Is the country ready for an aligned education? At Aligned Education – because learning is supposed to be FUN!
 (hu) added before the word ‘man’ by this author in an effort to increase her own alignment with this piece.