Day 156 (of 185) More thoughts on pressures & opportunities for our learners #Blog4MH
Being a learner in todays world is interesting. A day at school can range from spending time on a personal passion project to enhance /share their understanding of a topic to them preparing for a test with 250 multiple choice questions.
We are educating in interesting times. We are shifting from an industrial mindset to a mindset focused on…. communication? information? too much communicating information??
And I was at first thinking about creating a list. Identifying how much more at risk kids outside are today….but I know that’s wrong – the era we are living in is one of the safest ever in world history….but the 24 news cycle let’s us be hyper aware of what is going on in the world….as if it was happening next door. When I grew up we got a cable service from Detroit, so in many ways I knew more about what was happening in Michigan than I did in my own province….but today, my kids are better connected to world events than I ever was, and I see learners making better connections to our home community than I ever did…..sigh…
So when I realized that a list mindset would be too daunting (dare I say anxiety-inducing) – schooling today is looking less and less like the school of last century – mostly. It is hard to shift away from the comfortable structures that we grew up with, because they are familiar and worked for us (maybe not for all/most/….) and people mostly do what they see…..which is hard when we see so many still reluctant to share their own mental wellness battles.
But it’s good that “mental wellness is an ever-increasing issue in schools”. Because it means that ‘those learners’ are staying connected to schools. 50% of my grade 8 class did not graduate ‘on time’. Those learners would not be able to dis-connect….at least not as easily. We (most of us) keep them in the classroom…or at least the school… (mostly).
In large part, it’s been great that more “high profile people” are sharing their mental wellness stories. It used to be that they would keep them hidden. But that didn’t work out well for SO many – and most notably with Robin Williams suicide a few years ago. That helped others step forward to share their experiences.
And sharing helps. It creates a profile that younger learners can look to as role models. And they can see that they’re not alone. They can see how people like Bezos, Burton, Musk, Hannah, and so many actors, businesspeople, technologists, etc work with mental wellness – not that it’s been “fixed” but that it is being managed.
So my thoughts are that todays learners are indeed under more pressure than ever before. There is access to “all the information!” that they would want – and that means the brain may not ever get a chance to slow down and reflect and wonder.
There are also more opportunities than ever to find support (find your ‘tribe’) and share out who they are as people….as as schooling becomes more personalized, the more we can focus on Learner needs and become more different(iated).
And to think I wanted to start with a compare/contrast list….