Ashoka Changemaker Schools – Europe

Ashoka Changemaker Schools – Europe


We brought together some of the most innovative schools around Europe to share best practices but also think how they can share what they are doing with the rest of the world and with other schools and really help the whole society see the need for reimagining education, reimagining learning and the way young people and children are growing up. So what we are doing here is we are trying to take a very systematic approach to changing the way young people grow up, a systematic approach that allows every young person the opportunity to become a changemaker. Every young person´s mind is the product of a whole set of different forces pushing and pulling from across the ecosystem We can´t generate this change just by ourselves. We need to partner with other stakeholders that are developing complementary actions. So you got this very complex set of stakeholders who are fundamentally determining whether a young person becomes a changemaker or not. So we can work with people from different schools for example, but we can also work with people at universities, with researchers, with economists, civic society… with people who are agents of change at different levels, and I think we need to help them join forces all together and that is what Ashoka tries to do. If we train and educate young people in the same way as we educated the people who created the current model it will never lead to change. So if we want a sustainable future and society for our planet it is crucial to educate the next generation in different ways, so that they can create new insights and models. For me it is incredibly logical. For us Changemaking means working all together with hope, with dreams, with collective effort in the name of Alternative, ecological and democratic school system, for the children and for all of us. Other schools are possible, another world is possible. We have mixed ages classes with kids from 5 to 12 years old and we are totally capable of working with kids who have different capacities. Every kid learn at his own rhythm and in this space kids have the time to learn, to act and to make proposals. Our school is co-created with kids proposals. I was educated at a 20th Century school and now I am directing a school with 700 students born in the 21st Century among which are my kids. Our entire faculty fights every day to develop an education model that belongs to this century and that offers our students the necessary training to live in the real context our students and sons live in. The pedagogic system has to allow students to go into their inner garden, discover their true potential and their true capacities and interact with society. Students have to be able to use what they learn to meet their communities’ development needs. Most people spend 14 years at school. That is about 2.500 days at school, if you forget the holidays, and in 2.500 days they create no work that is of any value to anybody other than themselves. It is not of value to the teachers or the community and we need to change that in schools. In School21 we ask the children to create beautiful work that has an impact in the world around them, that has an impact on the community, because when they leave school the world is going To need them to create work that has a value and that makes a difference. That is what the world needs so we should teach it in schools. The core element for education is to create the awareness that our societies have a global responsibility In addition to that, our economy is changing rapidly; our society is in a constant change process. We don’t really know what the next two years will look like. We don’t know what will guide our students. That is fine, but means that we have to change our teaching of how people take action. We have to prepare for uncertainty and complexity. And this thought will change schools in the future radically. The idea of a future in which every person believes “I am a changemaker”,“I can change the world”, “I can improve things” is a brilliant idea, but it is not just an idea. It is really a vision in which we all believe, we Ashoka fellows, all the schools who gathered around this amazing vision and all the teachers and educators here. Sharing best practices has been a hugely important part of our interaction the last few days but that is simply not enough. I think we need to have the courage, the belief in what we are saying, to carry this message beyond the boundaries of our own schools, to our own communities, to our own towns and beyond. Because this message is an important message. Sometimes in our own minds we don´t have enough confidence in ourselves to believe in the quality of the message,the quality of what we are saying, but we need to have the courage to stand up, to lead in this because this is too important to leave as a local issue, this is too important to be an issue for just one school in one area. If all of us want to have an impact locally it is incumbent as us to be leaders, to lead our way with this, to not be afraid to go forward, to not be afraid to speak up and say yes there is another way to go about our business, to not be afraid to answer questions, to be asked questions, to reflect in what we do… but, to live in fear, to live in the fear of going beyond your own boundary restricts this movement, restricts what we believe and ultimately is not the right thing to do.

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