A Wish for the World: Let Us All Learn to Build Bridges




Will we get to the day when we will no longer use weapons against one another?  Will we ever stop trying to destroy other people because they are different from us?  We have eradicated dueling, we have outlawed slavery, can we get to the point where we will abolish  war?  And is that so difficult to imagine?

What about the fences that we build to separate us?  Fences in all shapes and sizes: gates, walls and barriers that keep us on this side and them on the other side.  When tolerance is the order of the day and diversity is threatening, we seem to be building more and more walls, instead of tearing them down; so what can we do to change this?

The answer is not weapons and it is not fences.  The answer is bridges.  We need to build bridges to one another.  To view our differences as opportunities for our joint growth, as chances to work together to solve complex problems utilizing our plurality as an asset.  This work starts at school by developing a culture of caring, collaboration, critique, creativity and connection.  Shifting the educational paradigm from one of competition, where one’s loss is another’s win, to collaborate in a way that combines what each of us has to offer into a powerful force of what we can accomplish together.  Making a caring space where everyone belongs and where we bravely and boldly build bridges to one another.  Designing places where we can imagine the world differently through our constructive critique of what it is today and creatively transform it into what it could be.  And all of this implies making school meaningful to the lives we lead and forging connections between the abstract knowledge we learn at school and the concrete experiences we have everyday.

Rather than sectioning us off from one another so that we don’t even know each other, or  defending our territory against one another violently;  rather than raising walls that cut us off from one each other, all the while living side by side in deep inequality; let us reach out to one another courageously and journey on the path of our common humanity and shared future hand in hand.  

Image Source: Building Bridges by Paulo Zerbato

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To transform education in order to move humanity forward to face the challenges of the 21st century, increasingly globalized world in a collaborative, creative, critical, connected and caring way.

The founder and primary contributor to Education for Contemporary Times is Sarah O. Weiler, long-time educator with a M.A. in Global Education from the University of Illinois and a M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Education at the prestigious Institute of Education at the University of London in the UK.
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