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Talent-Based, Project -Based, Meta Skills-Based Learning With Peer To Peer and Community Involvement

A reimagined approach where talents and their application toward communities‘ needs are at the core, where a teacher is a mentor and a peer.

Photo of Lana Kravtsova
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Written by

I am a.....

  • Teacher
  • Parent/Caregiver

Tell us about your idea

At the very core of every education should be a belief that the most value an individual can contribute to society is when he/she is creating something from their unique combination of talents or strengths. 

This is what allows us to be truly efficient, innovative and creative. This is what we have infinite energy to do because our talents are something that comes so naturally to us.

It’s been proven also that our natural strengths/talents are often connected to our passions. We become passionate about things, projects, skills, ideas that bring out our natural genius. 

If we agree that we need to encourage and help every child become their best selves, meaning develop their talents to their maximum potential, then one of the primary roles of school and education becomes noticing and actively helping children express their talents, as well as helping them apply those talents toward particular needs/problems of their local communities and, ultimately, the world.

I believe this should be the cornerstone of any educational approach. Everything else is just logistics on how to make it happen.

That’s where project - based learning comes into play.

Talent + Need = Project

When children know what they are good/talented at and are taught how to apply those strengths toward tangible needs in their communities, they feel empowered, seen, valued and learn to become truly productive members of our society.

That gives us another primary goal of school - help and encourage children apply their strengths toward needs they see around them in their local communities and the world.

Meta skills is our third magic ingredient. 

Those are the skills necessary to accomplish their projects as well as successfully adapt to the world of the future. 

What meta skills are necessary for our fast changing and evolving world? 

Collaboration, flexibility, ability to learn and re-learn over and over again, critical thinking. We can add more meta skills, but those seem to be the top ones. If school is not teaching those meta skills through the way they design an educational process, we are not preparing children for the future they are going to live in.

Role of a teacher:

In a school like this teacher becomes more of a mentor or guide whose primary role is to observe child's talents/strenths and direct him/her toward opportunities to develop them further and apply toward projects.

Teacher is no longer someone who needs to cram information-based knowledge into a child’s head by certain age. He is there to foster an unfoldment of what’s already there - natural passions, gifts and curiosities. 

Learning Environment:

This type of learning can happen in various environments - large or small groups, rural, urban, online or offline classroom setting. 

Anyone in the community could be a teacher to share their skills, knowledge and expertise. 

If it was done online, a student would work with a mentor or several mentors individually and in a small group of peers - learning what’s needed to develop their talents further, doing independent and group research, sharing insights, collaborating and formulating a project. Then each student would go into their local community implementing what they learned toward a need they see. Later they would come back together with their online group and share their results, findings, insights etc. 

Often students themselves would become teachers to share what they learned as often small groups would consist of students with similar interests, passions and talents.

If done offline, the best place for this type of learning would be educational community hubs. The hubs could be small or large. Students would work in groups and individually with mentors. 

Students could sign up for masterclasses, workshops etc to help them further develop their talents. Anyone from the community - artists, engineers, builders, designers etc could come into those hubs to teach workshops, give presentations etc. 

Students could also teach a workshop or a masterclass themselves to share their knowledge, skills, insights with like-minded peers.

Education would very much become a community effort without clear boundaries between a student and a teacher. One day you could teach, another day - learn.  

Students could also join one or several projects contributing their talents and skills toward needs and problems in their communities. 

All of that would be done while learning necessary meta skills of collaboration, flexibility, ablity to learn and critical thinking. 

In conclusion, education needs to focus on bringing out individual talents and teaching students how to apply those talents toward actual problems/needs they see in the world around them. 

We also need to design our education in a way the would teach them meta skills necessary for the future.

And, finally, we need to view it as less of a top down approach and more of collaborative, communal effort to help ourselves and those around us to contribute our talents to the world. 

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

Tests, information-based approach, curriculum and national standards ( we are all unique, hence there are no standard to compare or measure us), not caring about individual differences, teachers who are not taught or encouraged to see and actively promote children’s talents, passions and strengths, top down approach, emotionally and physically unhealthy learning environment and do much more.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

As a mother of four children and personal development coach I spend lots of time thinking about how we can create a happier and healthier society and how we can help our children reach their full potential. My approach has been formulated from years of research of various educational approaches - Montessori, Waldorf, project-based learning, free school movement, as well as learning about anthropological psychology and how we evolved as species. 

I’d like to see our children joyfully learning and creating, contributing their talents to our communities. Everyone’s talent needed and valued, everyone feeling seen and appreciated for who they are. 

What region are you located in?

  • North America

Where are you located?

Originally from Russia, I moved to US 15 years ago, I currently live in Roswell, Ga, a suburb of greater Atlanta area.

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Sarah Nethan

Hi Lana Kravtsova 
Thank you for your thoughtful contribution to this challenge!
Helping students find their hidden talents and using the same for the greater good can indeed facilitate a child's holistic development. I'm particularly intrigued by the idea of having masterclasses/workshops students could sign up for or even teach themselves. This would be a great way of co-learning and hone their existing skill set. I'm sure these workshops/masterclasses can also be a part of the online curriculum. I'm curious to know whether this concept has been shared/tested and whether any feedback has been received. I would love to learn more about it.

With the Ideas submission phase ending in about 4 hours, I would love for you to update your submission with any additional information from the comments (eg. reflections, key takeaways, questions answered, etc), to ensure that all of your insights are well captured for our evaluators. You can edit your post by hitting the Edit Contribution button at the top of your post.

Thank you and good luck!