• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


R1 Purpose of Education

Page history last edited by Chris Jones 12 years, 5 months ago



R1 Purpose of Education


What is EcoSYS?

It's an ongoing conversation on the dynamics of social ecosystems, now focused on K12 Education. more


Framing of this Resource Topic:

To develop a rigorous understanding of the complex dynamics at work in the public education ecosystem, we believe it is important to frame it's overarching purpose in a comprehensive, holistic manner.  Work to date on "Purpose of Education" 


A Modern Social Contract for K12


11/06/2011.  Below we begin a modern framing for a Social Contract for Public Education between our public governmental institutions and the people (namely parents, on behalf of our kids). Using a synthesis of Hobbes (protect us from ourselves) and Locke (establish a balanced system based on mutual consent) we will use a conventional "what's in/what's out" framing to scope the contract.


The contents of this table are aggregated from #ECOSYS tweets 10/23/11 to date.  More to come in the weeks ahead.


Prior chat updates (re: X-Factors) in BLUE

Tonight's chat focus 12/11 (re: Culture/Ethics) is in RED.


What's "In" (things to include) "What's Out" (things to exclude) 


S1.1 Literacy (Nov 6th)

a. Reading (how to "peg" this to excellence?)

b. Writing - frame target as "500 Words on Persuasive Social Positions" 

c. Critical Thinking - debate, collaborate, inquire

d. Achieve Trans-Literacy across Platforms - ability to communicate, interact, and influence across communication media - oral, written, visual, electronic, social

[please refer to this great resource from Alberta Education on the "scope of 21st-C learning" .. we should determine how to incorporate all/part of this]

S1.2 Community Engagement (Nov 13th) (how? how much? idea of "breaking down boundaries" has surfaced; boundaries between who and whom?)

a. Survey Local Resources (more?).

b. Clarity of Expectations & Responsibilities - must be defined and agreed upon (but how?) 

c. Partnership (need to expand)

d. Participative School Vision - which parents help to shape; want to mirror community - reflect it's values, character, goals

S1.3 Job Skills (Nov 20th)

a. 21st-C Skills.  See excellent Alberta Ed frame for this

b. Character, Respect. Critical in life & all careers, must be modeled by all in authority, including teachers.

c. Traditional "Trade" Skills may be misnomer in this thread, since that is not really the general sense/intent of this (need to further assess/expand on this).

S1.4 Culture of Learning (Nov 27th) (aligns school mission w/ that of parents, communities, society at large; "what does success look like"?) ... To me this is the essence of an EduKARE approach; specifically the 13 year learning story that every child writes either with or without the help of significant others- parents, community, teachers, peers etc. (Sean Grainger, 20/11/11) 

a. Love of Learning.  How can this be framed to be broadly relevant?

b. Entails Emotional, Social, Moral & Cultural Understanding.  Important to perpetuate diversity and achieve resilience (see also EduKare & AlbertaEd).

c. Preserve Local Culture.

d. Must Take Steps to Focus/Align our Values & Priorities via a new "Learning Culture" -

 - must be explicit in defining operating values & objectives

 - must build and sustain consensus (at what level? Nation? State? County? School?) 

 - requires leadership - at all levels, but especially at the top, to spark/drive change

 - requires talent/leadership skills to be hired 

 - recognizes that fear, blame & lack of hope will block change

 - diffs in values/priorities/cultures between system/LEA and schools can create gridlock

 - flawed frameworks (see X-Factors) must be changed for innovation to flourish - see X4.

e. "Kids First" has strong support - but risks lack of action/follow-through, and is also subject to multiple interpretations (this MUST be sorted out).

f. Communicate What We Value (system priorities) to Promote & Embrace ETHICS in Ed; what is EXCELLENCE (target behaviors)? (UPDATED 12/11)

- community understanding

- authentic connection & deep learning, not compliance tracking

- recognize diversity of learning needs/styles

- professional competence

- integrity - say what you mean, mean what you say

- commitment/obligation to students

- embrace diversity of culture

- foster trust and empathy

- willingness to take risks - not knowing what the results will be (can be difficult to achieve in a culture that demands quantification of results; creates conservative posture)






"What to leave out of the K12 Future State at Societal Level"

SUNDAY 12/4 9pET


X1. Political Bureaucracy eg. NCLB. 

- trying to change Ed w/o changing control structures

- need local control

- politicians creating policy w/o knowledge


X2. Reliance on Standardized Testing

- tests taking priority over learning

- look at why testing (tied to outcomes/objectives)

- look at what we are testing

- look at how we are testing it

- tests themselves not intrinsically flawed, just our (obsessive?) reliance on them 


X3. Model for Achieving Success w/ Scale: Standardize, Replicate, Measure, Remove Variance, Repeat (does this sound familiar?) Does it align w/ our objectives?

- "one answer can't be right for a whole nation, it leaves our local community factors"

- does Common Core serve us well, or create focus in the wrong areas (did not get closure on this)


X4. Must dismantle "flawed framework" & replace with something better.

- current model does not focus on learning

- economic factors skew  priorities (eg., Common Core), seeds of isolation and disconnects

- need to ID & remove systemic barriers

- factory model is strong & remains problematic

- local level is where community needs can understood and adapted

- start anywhere, follow everywhere (Wheatley)

- introduced idea of paradigm change 



S2.1 Parental Engagement (how? how much?)

a. Creating a Safe Environment

b. Clarity of Expectations & Responsibilities - must be defined and agreed upon (but how?) 

c. Participative School Vision - which parents help to shape.

d. Knowing Kids & Sharing Decision Making w/ Them.


S2.2 Job Skills




S3.1 Authentic Learning




Fall 2011 Purpose of Education

(Most Recent Framing Questions for 2011)


Q1. Who else should we circle back to as we establish our framing/vision around "Purpose"?

Q2. Looking at our brainstorm lists below, what has changed in the last 400 years?


Q3. How might we synthesize views of Thought Leaders with our own input "from the trenches"?

(our detailed, accumulated brainstorm of desired elements and outcomes of Education appears here:)




10/30/2011 Thought Leadership in Ed

(will eventually move to separate R2 History of Education page)


T1a. Charlemagne (742-814).  Under his rule of the Holy Roman Empire, became an early proponent of educating the masses across Europe. Hired several academics from the British Isles including Alcuin, who recognized that people of diverse backgrounds could be brought together in a culture of learning.

T1b. Hugo Grotius (1583-1645).  Early advocate for individual rights and the sovereignty of citizenship. 

T1c. Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679).  As an influential political philosopher, established the concept of a social contract that is designed to advance man from his natural asocial, lawless state; in this model of a more developed state of affairs, certain rights are ceded to a government for the stability and protection afforded by a civil society.

T1d. John Locke (1632-1704).  Advocate of a social contract that emphasized "mutual consent" between a people and it's government. Strong influence on America's founders.

T1e. Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778).  Advocated social contracts that ensured the good of the whole, including enforcement of civilizing laws that helped mold individual character.

T1f. Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826).  Strong early advocate for education in America, arguing strong linkages between a discerning public and the preservation of democracy and freedom. "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free it expects what never was and never will be. The people cannot be safe without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe."

T1g. Horace Mann (1796-1859).  Thought leader and legislator from Massachusetts in early 19th century, heading the first State Board of Education in America.  He is generally credited with creating the model for the American public school. His 6 main principles for public education:

(1) the public should no longer remain ignorant;

(2) education should be paid for, controlled, and sustained by an interested public;

(3) education would be best provided in schools that embrace children from a variety of backgrounds;

(4) education must be non-sectarian;

(5) education must be taught by the spirit, methods, and discipline of a free society;

(6) education should be provided by well-trained, professional teachers.

T1h. John Dewey (1859-1952).  Philosopher and psychologist with strong views on the importance of education. Wrote on education's role in social influence, and viewed schools as a venue for social reform. Like Jefferson and Mann, Dewey recognized the important relationship between education and a successful democracy, arguing students needed to learn not just content but also how to live their lives, living up to one's potential, and pursuing the greater good. He was also an early proponent of experiential (or 'hands on') learning, laying the foundation of modern Project Based Learning (PBL) models.

T1i. Clayton Christensen (discussed 10/2010).  Modern day thought leader, with ideas on broad scale system change better aligned with the diverse ways in which children actually learn; advocate for disruptive innovation.


Additional thought leaders to research and add to this analysis -



Maria Montessori



Albert Bandura (CN)

Robert Sylvester (CN)

Martin Brokenleg (CN)

Diane Ravitch



10/16/2011 R1 Modern Learning & Literacy requires:


R1a. Reading, writing, listening and speaking.

R1b. Critical thinking in all it's dimensions.

R1c. Ethical, compassionate problem solvers, who can work both independently & collaboratively.

R1d. Application of information strategically to solve personal and social problems, with ability to conduct analysis in all formats and media contexts.

R1e. Use information & communication technology with skill, purpose & wisdom.

R1f. Understand & respect diverse sources and perspectives.

R1g. Understand, respect and apply intellectual property rights.

R1h. Reading with pen in hand, debating, defending, justifying position

R1i. Flexibility & agility in learning styles, to handle rapidly changing environments.



11/2010 R1 Target K12 Education Outcomes (R1a.-R1j.)


O1a. Kids are exposed to wonder of thought, substance, creativity

O1b. Critical thinking skills are emphasized and used throughout learning process

O1c. Kids are empowered to handle 21st Century problems & challenges

O1d. Collaborative teaching environments reward teamwork ('we' vs. 'me', teachers as learners)

O1e. Century old mindsets that serve as cultural barriers to edu change & innovation have been removed

O1f. New thinking challenges illusions of control, need for classroom walls, traditional modes of teaching

O1g. Reduced tendency to scrutinize, criticize, judge (students, teachers)

O1h. Kids have more voice in their own learning, vs. having assumed/arbitrary objectives imposed

O1i. Evaluations redirected to elicit/encourage more change from teachers

O1j. Stakeholders (teachers, business leaders, parents) actively communicate & expand local educational goals/outcomes

O1k. Functional Ecosystem (teachers, schools, parents) seek to understand and foster Mastery as the primary goal orientation to drive deep learning & retention.

O1m. Resilience (expanded below)


Historical 2010 (P1) input on Problem Dimensions 

(ecosystem domain & boundaries):

How and why has Education lost focus over the last few decades?

There are actually many vectors to this problem, many of which could be important to help us understand the challenges.

P1a. Original Vision, per Horace Mann. Goal of schools to create 'social harmony' and to be the 'great equalizer'". These goals no longer appear to be in effect today. Is there an updated vision that is shared by all?


P1b. Too much structure, per Clay Christensen's "factory model".  the industrial revolution supplanted the intended course. 'Culture of Teaching' is very much focused on process and means of education, not the outcomes. 'Culture of learning' is very much blocked by a focus on students as "products" or "customers", not "people"


P1c. Struggle to achieve/sustain parent engagement (Tim O'Reilly's "vending machine mentality"). Society has outsourced education to government; money goes in, educated students come out. Do parents no longer have a role to make education a priority?  Model: meeting family needs.

P1d. Community mandate.  Schools don't act independently. They need community and voter support. But we believe strong local values and culture can overpower dysfunctional systemic ones. Model: community involvement.

P1e. Diverse learning environments.  Need for multiple models, to function in diverse communities, with diverse cultures and requirements.

P1f. Modeling success.  Want to look at successful models: Finland, HCZ to understand why certain innovations are so effective over others (see 2011 Brightspots series)

P1g. Understanding culture in Public Education context.  "Learning Culture" defines values. Values shape objectives. Objectives drive behavior. Behavior leads to outcomes.

P1h. "An evolutionary system for Education, geared toward diversity, not conformity."

P1i. "Preparing children for productive engagement in the workforce so they might create the future and not be shaped by it."

P1j. "Preparation to take on the cultural, social and economic challenge, with ability to make local impacts that have global implications." 



Thoughts on "Resilience" 11/2010

Would love to nudge more dialog on resiliency in ed as a function of change. I view change as a constant, not a variable. Framing it this way is a game changer. We operate under the illusion of control, but ecosystems are organic and fluid- they change by their very nature. We have to realize this and flow with the change by seeking continual improvement as opposed to desired finite outcomes or goals... a perpetual "bouncing back" process. When framed through the optimists lens of resiliency, change becomes a challenge, not a task; an opportunity, not a burden and a continual process as opposed to targeting static desired outcomes.

Hopeful regarding further discussion on topic of resiliency.

Sean (@graingered) Nov. 17

Thanks for input, Sean, a great basis for further conversation. M/b we can pull a new R1k from this. Or do you see it as expanding/amplifying R1f?

Chris (@sourcePOV) Nov 18

I see it as a new topic that, to be honest, is an important variable affecting all the others. As a perspective that evolves into a culture, resilient teachers promote resilient students, parents and yes, even administrators. Teachers can be taught to be resilient, more flexible and less reactionary. 

Sean (@graingered) Nov. 18


Expanding on "Resilience" via Chat 12/1/2010

  • @graingered Resiliency dfined=the ability 2bounce back against adversity 2 emerge stronger&better prepared 4more challenge 
  • @graingered A perspectiv that views all children as assets poessessing strengths that tchrs can leverage toward relativ success 
  • @gwoodjcg does resiliency require goal-orientation? otherwise, on what basis can a tchr/stdnt "see" growth over time?
  • @gwoodjcg sometimes the "high" kids are not resilient because they have never had to be - sad commentary on education there...  
  • @justinarte "where #edreform breaks down in negative spiral of blame. Resilience avoids that." 
  • @gwoodjcg motivation is a key factor not being discussed - chnging gradng to resiliency requires intrinsic motvtion to better oneself 
  • @graingered to @cybraryman1 I don't believe in failure, only relative degrees of success http://bit.ly/hN5m7N 
  • @Asaulgoldman If you teach people that there is a 'right' answer, they measure against it; if u teach how to learn from failure, u nurture resil. 
  • @jennar success vs failure' is a false dichotomy- oversimplified. Resiliency is not linear. 
  • @mediamum I love the word resilient. Such a strong word. Up there with resonance. I'm finding a pattern there.  ** something to explore- where does 'resonnance'
  • @toughloveforX  resiliency is appropriate response to challenges. good decision making 
  • @rosamarietores Same as 'works' / 'doesn't work' RT @jennar 'success vs failure' is a false dichotomy- oversimplified. Resiliency is not linear.  
  • @drtimony I agree with the earlier statement that resiliency is about recovery from a mistep. Add that it includes persistence.
  • @beckyellis What if schools embraced Res as something to teach?  
  • @jennar what if schools embraced resiliency as something to be... and job=build communities of resilient learners? 
  • @sourcePOV so if Ed context is learning goals, focus not GO but LGO. Do most parents support LGO? For boomers, yes, but trend going wrong way 
  • @sourcePOV Motivational forces on student: parent, peer/pop culture, coach, teacher. LGO highly variable across these influencers. 
  • @gwoodjcg so are we filing "resiliency" as a construct under motivation theory at this point? 
  • @sourcePOV Can we agree on Learning Goal Orientation (LGO) as appropriate context for discussing resilience in Edu context? More focused.  
  • @beckyellis is Resilience an orientation or an outcome? 
  • @beckyellis this conversation has definitely exposed a gap in how we approach education 


Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.