No Boundary Learning (NBL) is a call to action and a new set of priorities for education in fundamental aims, methods, content, purpose, and role in society.
It is time for our thinking and models of education to grow, to catch up, to be relevant in todays world and the future.
Call to Action
Our children today are entering a future of unprecedented challenge and dynamic exponential change that surpasses any other era of human history.
Since the dawn of homo sapiens on Earth roughly 200,000 years ago, global human population has remained below the one billion mark, that is, until very recently in the year 1900. Since then, humans have increased in numbers seven times over, and will reach 10 billion by 2050. This represents a 10-fold increase in merely 150 years! Additionally, the per capita consumption of finite stores of fuel and other vital resources is increasing exponentially, and the earth’s “sinks” (domains that absorb wastes, e.g. oceans, forests, land masses) are already pushed beyond their limits to keep up. Humanity’s footprint on Earth is in an increasing state of “overshoot” (drawing on the the “principal” of our planet’s natural resources “bank account”). In economics, this creates bankruptcy. For humanity on Earth this means ecosystem bankruptcy (collapse), resource bankruptcy, widespread suffering and a threat to survival itself.
For the first time in history our presence on the planet has grown to the point where there is nowhere to escape, no “new worlds” or natural domains to conquer, “away” is right here where we stand.
No generation in history has ever faced such a circumstance.
Avoiding the worst case scenario will only be accomplished through a wholesale redesign of modern civilization’s infrastructure and systems of operation (food production, energy sources and use, transportation, architecture, land use, development, etc.), implemented within our children’s lifetimes.
The good news is that humanity currently possesses the technologies and potential in human talent and spirit to meet this challenge. The bad news is we are not on track to do so.
So, what is missing? What do we need to make this happen, to actualize potential, to mobilize, to prioritize the technological innovation and implementation required, reset thinking on relationships to each other and the natural world, to muster the political will and collective sacrifice and purpose?
We need a leap in consciousness.
A new paradigm for education that prioritizes raising consciousness will be required, a model that can populate the world with people who can embrace a collective mindset and understand our fundamental global interdependence, place in history, an evolved empathic capacity and values beyond economic metrics.
Read more on this topic in my essay:
“The Purpose of Education.”
Essential Characteristics and Values of NBL
Deep constructivist learning–learning driven by authentic student inquiry in its purest sense.
Systems thinking–holistic awareness and perception, seeing the big picture and relationships between components on all levels of scale.
Interdependence–understanding this chief feature of the world in the 21st Century, at every level of scale, between social systems, living systems, economic systems, and physical systems.
Contemplative and mindfulness activities, metacognition, meditation, deep reflection, mind-body awareness.
Raising Consciousness–self awareness (emotions, intellect, subjective conditioning), unity consciousness (presence, spirit, connect to the “big picture” and holistic nature of reality).
Philosophy and epistemology–exploration of expanded ways of knowing, cognition, and source of belief systems and mental models of reality.
Deep creativity–accessing intuition, creative visioning, transcending subjective traps.
Personal actualization of being–sense of purpose, higher intention, aspirations, chief features, character, values.
Interdisciplinary orientation–a key feature of curriculum design to explore systems thinking and develop holistic awareness.
Ethics–in all contexts, nature, society, and the future.
Essential academic knowledge and skills taught in real world project-based learning contexts and authentic inquiry.
For further information view the documents below:
- Summary chart characterizing the shift to systems thinking and holistic perception.
- Graphic depicting the reorganization of learning in NBL that places traditional subject are knowledge and skill as a means to end, as tools on the path to the priorities of transformation, unity consciousness, sustainability and ethical development. Note the graphic uses a previous name, Integral Vision Learning.