Let’s stop talking about the future of education: let’s do the inner work | Benjamin Freud, Ph.D. | 10 Min Read

I have been wrestling with a question for months, looking for clues to an answer in conversations, books, podcasts, and quiet moments of reflection. I’m not the first person to have posed this question, and for centuries it has created significant, sometimes bloody, cleavages. The question is “How do new paradigms [for education] replace old ones—by starting on the fringes and eventually displacing the dominant narrative or by attacking and vanquishing existing paradigms from the core?” I put brackets around for education to highlight that this essential question applies to any paradigm.

This question is at the heart of any attempt to change schools fundamentally. I’m not talking about a tweak here, an additional program there. I mean the kind of change that fundamentally alters collective consciousness so that, over the longer run, we adopt different ways of thinking of, feeling for, and acting in schools that put life, and not ego, at the center—will anything else save the planet?

Many of you will be saying “it’s not a case of either/or; it’s both/and.” That might be the case, but maybe I’m simply asking the wrong question. Maybe trying to change education for the better is the wrong approach.…

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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.