Journey Beyond School

We live in rapidly changing world – the proof, if we care to look is in front of our eyes, change has become a necessary reality in the gadgets we hold in our hands as it was in the biology it took to survive millions of years ago. Advances in science and technology are increasing at an exponential rate, a rate that is accelerating in proportion to its growth, for those number geeks out there. Physics, mathematics, music, languages, history, geography… sound familiar enough? Really, it should be for any high school graduate of the 21st Century. School as we know it is the base ingredient that we have chosen, and I use my words very carefully, indeed chosen to engender the opportunities of our denizens of tomorrow. Not to state the obvious, though in fact, it is our only window to our future only one generation from now. Our massive strides and yet expected breakthroughs and successes as a human race await and our children are counting on it. From a man on the moon to a man on mars, all is only possible through education, and quote me on it!

Wonder with us, dear reader, if a time traveler from 1923 zinged and poofed himself (or herself) forward a hundred years. What could he recognise today while his friends who are getting good at manually toggling a radiotelophone are waiting patiently for Einstein to discover his theory of special relativity? Could we explain to him our jargon and esoteric scientific terms? Would he appreciate the comfort of fully air conditioned cars, the sitting back on the sofa and using an iPhone to switch through limitless entertainment options from many meters away. Would he believe his ears when he is told that science has conquered many of the diseases that brought fear to populations across the globe? He would certainly ask for a glass of water and a seat when he hears that man has gone to and back from the moon!

As the list of achievements expands as infinitely as the universe, and Nobel prize winners increase in number while the gasps of the audience decrease as they become numb to the technological progress they were exposed to from birth, there remains one place in which our traveler might find a wierd sense of comfort – one place that remains strangely recognisable. That place has, ironically, barely changed one bit in relation to other fields of technological advancements and discovery. That place is where it all started: the classroom.

For all of the incredible achievements that mankind has made in the 20th Century and the near first quarter of the 21st Century, there is one place that has remained effectively static. Of course, besides the smart boards and online work spaces that we use in our classrooms, the essential format has become for many stale and unchanging, clearly past its expiration date. We have tens of young students staring seated and muted towards the top of the room where the teacher takes stage. Whilst curriculums do develop and take a more positive outlook over time in line with our societal goals, the way we deliver education holds stubbornly to the same mundane ways (hold tight… more on this later). In fact, for our reminescing time traveler the modern classroom may induce surprisingly striking memories of his own childhood.

Take home this simple thought experiment, and we hope our time traveler has imbued in you, as he has done in us, a desire to unearth better ways to educate ourselves and our children. Our desire, with HALJ, is to revisit how education is thought about and talked about. We try to keep an open mind and to add value to the system that in many ways made us who we are. We sincerely strive to impact the ways in which our children are taught to become our leaders to the future.

We encourage all readers to hold our hands on this long and exciting  journey to our future as humanity. It is a journey that involves the input and passion of all stakeholders: students, parents, and teachers alike and beyond. Together, we will adapt ourselves to fit, expand, and develop, with time, all of our communities, big and small. It is a journey that I would like to share with all of you henceforth in this blog. Please stay tuned.

Abdulrahman & Vincent


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