The Urgency of Collaboration



We live in a highly competitive world, so much that even the way that we relate to one another is often on a foundation of competition - especially over ideas.  Our societies today are organized by polarized, ideological encampments, which compete over who is right and who is wrong, rather than collaborating in a deliberative dialogue to make joint decisions for the common good.  

It is absolutely necessary that we come together with multiple perspectives to discuss constructively what is happening in the world and how we live our lives.  We must realize that we become who we are in relation to others.  Our existential journeys to seek the truth must be a collective enterprise, for all of us only have partial access to the objective truth through our subjective experience.  When we come together with others our view can expand and we can join together to see the world more fully, more completely. 

What happens, more often than not however,  is that we stick to our ideological camps - who thinks like us and we demonize those who think differently.  To remedy this we need to adopt a stance that we could be wrong, especially by accepting that our knowledge is always partial.  We can be passionate about our beliefs and act accordingly, however we must be open to our fallibility and be patient, forgiving and empathetic with ourselves and others.  We can also argue and fight for our beliefs without propagating hate towards those who think differently.  Just take Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. or Mandela, all who held strong beliefs (which they modified over the course of their lives) and even suffered brutalities because they acted according to their beliefs, but they, following the doctrine of non-violence, believed that the most effective way to convince others of your perspective is to present them with your thoughtful arguments; try to understand and empathize with their position and experience; and be open to change your mind and patient to change the minds of others - seeing that we affect one another and we are all transformed in the end.  As Hannah Ardent points out, that is why we are here together in this world and not alone, saying that “plurality is the law of the earth.” 

Thus, for our societies to change, our schools need to change. Redesigning schools that celebrate diversity and the collaboration of different ideas for everyone’s growth and the meaningful transformation of our reality for the common good.


Image Source: United Nations Peace Window by Marc Chagall
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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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