Seeing, hearing, and contacting others in a digitalized world does not guarantee awakening of humanity. We prove this daily. Latent ambiguity in digital contacts can obstruct genuine connections of the heart and soul, which infuse with grit and empathy to shape a way forward. So how do we know if and where we are moving?
As a teacher and a Mom, this is a challenge. The term Data-driven decision-making buzzes in both the business and educational worlds. What I see is people creating measurement instruments that produce numbers, a way to quantify success. What I experience is children getting crushed in the adult drive to produce that numerical evidence of growth. Too frequently, young people drop into an abyss filled with the message that they are not capable.
If the goal is to build thriving and life-long learning ecosystems for an innovative world then failure must be embraced as an integral process of moving forward. We tend to celebrate only success and cringe when failure occurs. Both ends of the spectrum are equally important. We advocate for multicultural education, but when in the learning ecosystem are young people given the opportunity to really interact, to feel the life within another culture, and to solve a real problem together?
I recently connected with Tandi Z., a former student of mine from Zimbabwe. My son, Adam met with her at a leadership conference and she invited me to visit her during which she presented me with the most precious gift. She showed me a reflection book made of glued pictures and construction paper that she made many years ago during her village stay with a family at Kadyamadare village. This simple journal helped shape her sense of global identity. We need to look in these kinds of places for real-life evidence.
So how do we know if and where we are moving? I personally look for the young people whose lives I shared at some school or event around the world and examine the ways they are out there driving positive change. Digitally, it would be great to track this not only as evidence, but also as a motivating path in A Way Forward.