Imagine you have a child.

Imagine that the future is going to be so high-risk and fast-changing that no one can predict what will happen.  No one. Not even an “expert”.

Imagine that no one can predict what types of jobs and how many jobs there will be in even the relatively near-term future.  Imagine that automation, artificial intelligence, and robots may even bring on a nearly jobless future.

Imagine there may be constant wars between the poor and the rich across the globe.  Wars between massive flows of displaced immigrants and “natives”.  Wars over water, land, and religion.  Imagine there may be environmental collapse.  Viruses and other diseases may rage across humanity.  The Internet—and with it our whole modern hyper-connected world—may be hacked to death bringing on a new Dark Age.

Or, imagine that new technologies may save us, extend life greatly in both time and space, and bring on a utopia (or, perhaps, just a lot of new unintended consequences that will change the whole problem space).

So, now how do you think about school reformers that stress schools and colleges should be preparing your children for the jobs of the future?  What jobs?  What future?

But imagine you have a child and so you have to do SOMETHING.

You have to (I believe) ask yourself, “What sort of person does my child have to be to face a high-risk, complex, changing, and challenging world with resilience, hope, ethics, and the ability to survive, help, and possibly flourish?” You have to ask how learning and experiences in and out of school can help your child be such a person.

What would we call such a person?  A person well prepared to live in a world fast becoming unmoored to the past and floating into an unknowable future.  There is no name for such person, though surely there will be different ways to be one.  So let’s just call such a person an “Ardent”, merely to have a name.

If we wanted to nurture and grow Ardents, how would our current discussions about schools, tests, assessment, teaching and learning, society, government, humanity, and the global world have to change?  Would that new discussion have to be radically different and in a new language?  Would we have to stop just trading positions in an old game and invent a whole new game, one where winning means saving the world and ourselves as moral human beings?

Where can a parent turn to get help to grow his or her child into an Ardent?

Imagine I am wrong about how unforeseeable and possibly unforgiving the future will be and yet we still, nonetheless, produced a generation of Ardents?

Didn’t we need saving anyway?


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March 29th, 2018

The Interpreter System (7)

Let’s return to our diagram of a human being (or, “an enviro-human system”).  I want now to look just at […]

March 27th, 2018

Joint Actor Systems (6)

The diagram I used in the last post is misleading in that it makes things look more contained and bounded […]

March 26th, 2018

A Human Being (5)

Last time, we raised the question: “What is ‘Jim”?” (substitute your own name for “Jim” here).  We think of ourselves […]

March 25th, 2018

Jim and Identities/Discourses (4)

When we make a choice, who is making the choice?  We have already seen that there are lots of things […]

March 10th, 2018

Alternates (3)

When we make a choice about ourselves often that choice is vastly undetermined by the information we have available.  Say […]

March 7th, 2018

Flourishing (2)

It makes little sense to see a human being (or any other animal) as an individual making free choices.  In […]

February 25th, 2018

Free Will (1)

Note that the question of free will simply does not arise for animals.  We think that, even for intelligent species, […]

October 29th, 2017

The Principle of Charity

October 8th, 2017

Character Education

Recently, the College of Education at Arizona State University—where I work— received funding from the Kern Family Foundation to make […]

June 15th, 2017

Neoliberalism Part 6 (The End)

What killed people’s sense of mattering was the growth of very high levels of inequality.  What caused such high levels […]

June 14th, 2017

Neoliberalism Part 5

Many of us tend to think of history as a march forward and upward. So, we tend to interpret the […]

June 14th, 2017

Neoliberalism Part 4

The Catholic Church declined in three stages. The same was true for many other institutions.  “The Sixties” (roughly from 1963 […]

June 12th, 2017

Neoliberalism Part 3

Today, we have among the highest levels of inequality we have ever had.  Drug addiction, environmental degradation, flows of climate […]

June 11th, 2017

Neoliberalism Part 2

The British economist John Maynard Keynes and “Keynesian Economics” were foundational to the Bretton Woods Agreement and to the world […]

June 10th, 2017

Neoliberalism Part 1

Though neo-liberalism is the “usual suspect” for the miseries of our institutions and society, it is not nearly as relevant […]

May 30th, 2017

Main Points from My New Book

Teaching, Learning, Literary in our High-Risk, High-Tech World: A Framework for Becoming Human (Teachers College Press, 2017). Ignorance We humans […]

April 17th, 2017

The Importance of Discourse Analysis:
Step 10 The End

Neither love nor liking is necessary for the sorts of critical discussions among different frameworks that might lead to shared […]

April 15th, 2016

The Importance of Discourse Analysis:
Step 9 Interpretation

Goodwill.  What could possibly encourage people in a fractured and inequitable world to have goodwill?  I, for one, do not […]

April 14th, 2016

The Importance of Discourse Analysis:
Step 8 An Example

I want now to give an example of two different frameworks that certainly appear incommensurable.  My purpose here is make […]

April 12th, 2016

The Importance of Discourse Analysis:
Step 7 Discussion

We are at a critical juncture now in our attempt to understand why frameworks can cause us humans such grief.  […]