Trading “Problems” for “Possibilities”

To bring about dramatically improved learning outcomes for children and young people everywhere the learning systems we are familiar with will need to be “collectively transformation.” Yes, that would mean dramatic change.  Change beyond just adapting the status quo.

Peter Block in his book, Community: The Structure of Belonging, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2008 states: “To create an alternative future, we need to advance our understanding of the nature of collective transformation.”  He goes on to say, “We know a good deal about individual transformation, but our understanding about the transformation of human systems, such as our workplaces, neighborhoods, and towns, is primitive at best, and too often naïve in the belief that if enough individuals awaken, and become intentional and compassionate beings, the shift in community will occur.” It is going to take collaboration, a clear vision, planning, perseverance, and much more.  But transformation is possible within communities.

Block, advocates that we must be willing to trade “problems” for “possibilities”.  Is it realistic, in our current times, to be asking communities and schools to create futures that are distinct from the past?  Shouldn’t the status quo be preserved?  How ready are you, the staff you work with and/or the citizens you serve – to willingly be part of creating a “future that is distinct from the past”?

Block believes that belonging to a community calls for “interdependence”.  And to build authentic interdependence he calls upon community members to “act as investors, owners, and creators of the community space”.  Are these reasonable and appropriate ideas? And – what are you or could you be doing to build interdependence for those involved in your community? Is it realistic, in our current times, to be asking communities to create futures that are distinct from the past?  Shouldn’t the status quo be preserved?  What do you think?

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