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Educational Self Reliance

I’m going to start a new term: Educational Self Reliance. This is defined as a person’s ability to be in charge of his or her own learning and to successfully solve problems.

At Stanford University, I took a course from the “father” of cultural transition – which is the way society teaches its young how to be successful in its culture. How we transmit culture in our own countries (or even our homes) can be different. Dr. Spindler showed us an example of an aboriginal people who encouraged young children to use sharp objects such as knives and axes – and they didn’t hurt themselves! In my culture, allowing children to handle those things can be seen as dangerous, and parents may even be perceived as negligent - where in the aboriginal culture, it was viewed as good and necessary to transmit skills. I saw another, subtle example when I lived in New Zealand and observed my daughter’s math assignment where the teacher had marked the “correct” answers rather than those that were wrong. We saw that perspective in other classes in New Zealand’s schools as well. In the US, teachers generally mark what is wrong. It made me wonder what other lessons were being taught by those teachers, even without realizing it?

In the end, our goal is to teach students to be “Educationally Self Reliant” and to equip them with the skills to solve problems. How we do that is often a pattern of how we were taught. Khai learning seeks to highlight how learning takes place across all cultures. Understanding the natural pattern of knowledge > hope > action > inspiration helps self-reliant learners know where they are and what they need to do to keep learning. For example, self-reliant learners may “seek out,” or “act,” by exploring new resources, finding a mentor, trial and error, building something, or making, or playing, or experimenting on their hopes. This happens at any age and across cultures – and teachers, mentors, and parents help learners see the possibilities as well as remove roadblocks. Khai Learning is a pattern of growing self-reliance.

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