Relationships are at the heart of leadership and learning. The ways in which we interact with one another are foundational to any learning experience. Listening to learners, demonstrating compassion, being responsive to their needs, and thoughtfully co-designing with and for learners to develop their capabilities are critical elements of learner-centered education.
Strong relationships have also been linked with feelings of safety and security, considerations that are particularly important as we continue to adapt to the complex challenges of an ongoing global pandemic.
And yet it is fair to say that the relationships we seek are often constrained by our systems.
Our industrial-era educational systems promote isolation and compliance. Schools were designed like factories and oriented to mass-production. In education, the most pervasive “system” that serves as an organizing principle for schools is the industrial-era assembly line.
Assembly lines of the Industrial Revolution have had an enormous influence on our education systems. They are the heart of mass production, and they generate enormous efficiencies. In the industrial model of assembly-line production, workers specialize in very specific tasks. The unfinished material moves down the line at a uniform pace, and parts are added to eventually create a uniform, consistent finished product.…