A curriculum of kindness | Benjamin Freud | 11 Min Read

This article was inspired by my conversations with Louka Parry and David Penberg.

Sometimes I fixate on a subject or idea and find myself buying a bunch of books and watching videos to feed my curiosity and further my understanding of a single topic. Recently, there are two that keep calling me: ancient wisdoms (such as Buddhism, Taoism, and First Nations cosmogonies) and quantum mechanics. I don’t pretend to grasp all the richness and complexities of either, but I keep learning enough to keep myself interested. 

This is an article that is intended to provoke thinking by suggesting that we reconsider the experience of school to make kindness the curriculum, to define success as to how our kindness contributes to the world. We’re not talking about a greeting card or a fortune cookie. I propose that placing kindness at the heart of all our thinking and actions is based on the foundation of interconnectedness that has its roots in both ancient wisdoms found across the world and the latest science. There are theoretical as well as practical (and future-saving) reasons to emphasize kindness over the models of education we have today.

Ancient wisdoms and quantum mechanics appeared thousands of…

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Benjamin Freud, Ph.D.

Benjamin Freud, Ph.D. is the co-founder of Coconut Thinking, an advisory that supports schools and learning organizations to co-create, co-develop, co-stress test, and co-implement ideas that nurture the conditions for emergent learning. Benjamin is also the Head of Upper School at Green School, Bali. He was previously the Whole School Leader of Learning and Teaching at Prem Tinsulanonda International School in Thailand. He was the Academic Coordinator at Misk Schools, one of the most prestigious and high-profile school in the kingdom. In 2018-2019, he was also the Head of Upper Primary and Middle School at Misk. Prior to this, he was Vice-Principal of the Middle School and High School at the Harbour School in Hong Kong. He holds a Ph.D. in History, an MSc in Education, an MBA, an MA in International Relations, and a BA in International Affairs. Benjamin was born and grew up in Paris, France. He moved to the U.S. when he was 15 and spent 11 years there in different cities before living in the U.K., Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and now Bali, Indonesia. He started his career in consulting for Internet start-ups in Silicon Valley in the late 1990s, working with people whose ambitions were no less than to change the world. This experience had a profound effect on Benjamin's outlook on education, innovation, and entrepreneurship.