Ethics, Love, and the Primacy of Thriving Relationships: New Narratives 2 | Benjamin Freud, Ph.D. | 13 Min Read

August 11, 2022

Our knowledge will take its revenge on us, just as ignorance exacted its revenge during the Middle Ages. ~Friedrich Nietzsche

In the previous article, I asked “What if schools’ primary purpose was to nurture thriving relationships?” I did so thinking about “21st-century skills,” which are so often pushed by industry and education. I am not quite sure when these skills became the exclusive property of the 21st century, but I will venture to guess that it had to do with the changing capitalist landscape. Corporations realized they needed knowledge workers (with different skillsets to previous generations of workers) to compete in the post-service economy and they put pressure on transnational organizations like the World Economic Forum to “reveal” periodically the top 5,10, or 20 skills employees will need for the future. Every so often, these reports fall into the hands of a well-meaning school administrator who then pushes competency development into the curriculum and calls it “future ready.”

Today, in addition to competing on test scores and grade point averages (which suffer from grade inflation) students get to compete on their so-called 21st-century skills—say, how creative and ethical they…

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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.