Student Pathways Into a Curriculum: Chaotic or Empowering? | Benjamin Freud | 8 Min Read

We justify our need for a set curriculum by invoking our responsibility to prepare students for the future, expose them to ideas that will make them respectable well-rounded citizens, and equip them with skills to help them succeed in their adult lives. Somewhere in there, we hope to produce young minds able to compete by day for prized spots at top universities (which are always good to add to the school profile) and entertain dinner party guests with repartee full of culture and facts by night. There is a body of knowledge that we all need in order to be respectable, so the story goes. The late Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks believed that the “existence of a canon is essential to a culture. It means that people share a set of references and resonances, a public vocabulary of narratives and discourse.” Well, that may be true, but whose narratives and whose discourse?

Sometimes students just aren’t interested in what we want to teach them. There are as many reasons as there are students, actually way more since students’ interests and moods aren’t static. We know that it’s an uphill struggle, yet we persevere, claiming it is our duty to…

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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.