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Shifting the Focus: Emerging Directions in 21st Century Learning

Shifting the Focus: Emerging Directions in 21st Century Learning

In this age of fast-paced change, global imbalance and endless distraction there is an urgent need to shift the focus of schools to incorporate a more balanced approach to learning that equips students to cope effectively and holistically with the demands of the 21st century.  Our education systems were designed ‘at another time, in another place, for a different purpose’ (J. Abbott) and our lingering industrial-age schooling models no longer meet the deeper needs of our students our  teachers – and our planet.

When we ask parents and teachers what they really want for their children, the responses are usually as much about happiness, wellbeing, and resilience as they are about success and academics. If we want to help our children develop the skills and capacities they will need for a fruitful, creative and balanced life, it is crucial that the adults in their lives know how to model these skills effectively.

In order to be successful and resilient in this age of distraction, we need to cultivate attention, self-awareness and emotional regulation. There is now considerable and compelling evidence that training in mindfulness is a very effective way of alleviating stress, anxiety and depression as well as promoting wellbeing and flourishing.

Kevin Hawkins will provoke us to consider these and other questions pertinent to educators interested in tapping the full range of capacities in our students – and in ourselves.

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