4 Oct | The Transformation of Learners

Live: The Transformation Of Learners

Dr Phil Cummins explores the transformation of learners. Read more to find out about students locating their purpose within designed learning relationships.


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So much of the conversation we are engaging in with students, teachers, leaders and school teams at a School for tomorrow. focuses on the imperative of the future-fit voice, agency, and advocacy of students. 

Our world requires our graduates to exercise a future-fit voice, agency, and advocacy with confidence and courage, and with fluency and humility, in a manner that has been hitherto unprecedented in society. 

Our times call on young people to be ready and willing to embrace a necessary and ongoing process of transformation from who they are today towards becoming the person they need to be to thrive in the world of tomorrow. 

This imperative is what lies at the heart of the new social contract of education: today's learning for tomorrow's world. 

Today's learning for tomorrow's world supports learners to find their sense of purpose and apply it to achieving ongoing growth, mastery and improvement in their adaptive expertise and self-efficacy. To do this successfully, they need to understand and apply their character, competency and wellness to their greatest effect in making and carrying through wise decisions about the best possible solutions (new and old) for the situation at hand. 

So, how good are we as educators at mastering and demonstrating the knowledge, skills, dispositions and habits required to model, scaffold and coach our learners on how to thrive in their world? 

No longer do we live in the age of the average where replication and compliance will suffice. We recognise now that each of our learners is a unique and precious human being who deserves to realise themselves and thrive with a dignity and an inherent worth that is just as much as anybody else. 

Not all of the pathways and the outcomes will be the same for each learner. Everything that we see in the work that we're doing in schools around the world right now suggests that people want the experience of schooling to be more personalised. They want a sense of the individuality of a human being who is on a journey from being a little person to a bigger person to an even bigger person, to a person who might be ready to thrive in the world beyond school. 

At the same time we need to resist the temptation to make school a solely one-to-one experience. We need to resist that notion that “my child is special” because (of course) everybody's child is special and (at the same time) none is that special. We're all part of a whole. We learn socially for others and from others at the same time as we learn for ourselves. 

In other words, what we do as educators goes beyond simple transactions of content. We need to engage in powerful designed learning relationships of character apprenticeship during which we pass on what we understand about our own adaptive expertise and self-efficacy in order that our novice students might generate their own. To effect this transformation, we must yield the powerful position we hold as adults and experts so that the necessary conditions are set for learners to become experts in their own right, with novices of their own.

Let’s go!

Dr Phil Cummins is the Managing Partner of a School for tomorrow, Associate Professor of Education & Enterprise at Alphacrucis University College, Managing Director at CIRCLE – The Centre for Innovation, Research, Creativity & Leadership in Education, and Head of Education at Voyage.

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