Building Trust based schools with Babette Lockefeer

“These are authentic human beings and I don’t need to teach them.. they already want to grow and learn..”

Babette and I have an insightful discussion about building trust based schools and how this can serve the more interconnected world where we need more human-centred and regenerative practices from primary school to the boardroom.

We discuss sociocratic decision making models and the parallel with what we are seeing in organisations and organisational culture. How can we design a model that is fit for all, but not a ‘one size fits all’ ? How can we  step away from measuring solely the cognitive layer of intelligence and include development based learning ?

We discuss accountability, definitions of success, societal systems and conscious inclusion as building blocks for a more equitable and developmental school system, and what this would change in the leadership we are currently seeing in organisations. 

Babette shares her vision for building trust based schools, pulling on her personal conviction and on her work with organisations and leaders across the globe

The main insights you’ll get from this episode are : 

  • Setting up a trust-based school was inspired by frustration rather than inspiration, seeking an alternative to the usual restrictive system of moulding children, teaching them to follow authority and learn or be taught the same as everyone else.
  • Children (humans) are creative, self-motivated and authentic and simply need the space to be that without being forced to or controlled (however subtly). The result is convergent rather than divergent thinking – tackled with adults in the corporate world – and is not beneficial to them or future society
  •  ‘We need unequal education for equal opportunities.’ The current one-size-fits-nobody-approach creates inequality in the education system and misses potential by basing it solely on cognitive intelligence, which is not a realistic view of the world.
  • We assume that education legislation in today’s world is based on thorough – albeit old – scientific research, but it is actually based on historical coincidences and built around bureaucratic efficiency rather than child development.
  • Thanks to digital, thought is pivoting towards more human aspects, such as cultivating emotional intelligence. The development from a child into an adult is interrupted by schooling that often does not suit them, leaving many feeling unsuited to or uncomfortable in their workplaces.
  • Educating based on individual needs is underpinned by 3 things:
    • 1: Development-based learning: a holistic approach that allows children to follow their own trajectories; teachers observe and ensure that the child has the right input for the next zone of development; the teacher as coach holds a space for learning and provides broader instruction when required. Children therefore stall, but don’t fail, on their own personal journeys.
    • 2: Sociocratic decision-making: the child is involved in their own development and understands more about the process of learning, which increases motivation. Shared decision-making at all levels ensures that power is with the expertise, i.e. teachers, and demonstrates the difference between consensus (majority voices are heard) and consent (minority/silent voices are heard). Such collective decisions, however, take longer to reach and are harder to manage in terms of output.
    • 3: Flexible opening times: to maximise learning time, families decide when their children attend school; many aspects of a child’s life are integrated into the school day, e.g. cooking their own lunches, and other ‘extra-curricular’ options, including quiet time. To learn, we need to take a break and this system gives permission to do nothing (to just be).
  • This model changes all the parameters but is difficult to measure. Indeed, the biggest challenge in setting up such a school are metrics and (unpredictable) pilot status. How do we measure if a school is good? Aside from cognitive output, there is ongoing discussion around self-confidence, the joy of learning, social interaction and failure to flourish.
  • What is success for children? As for adults: learning to live life as ourselves; having faith in ourselves, knowing ourselves and how we learn, building resilience, knowing how to live in society and providing for ourselves.
  • Many believe that children educated in this way would not tolerate ‘bullshit’ jobs; burn out less; give the planet what it needs; restore the balance between the human world and the world of work; work on what they think is truly important for themselves and society; create collective self-awareness and bring about conscious inclusion.
  • Company owners/decision-makers should consider the true goals of their company and be open and transparent about them – also with their employees – and find people who share these goals. Are they willing to give up the things control gives them in order to have a trust-based organisation?
  • Employees should likewise critically assess their employers and hold them to account – are they doing what they say? – but also look to themselves and how they can be trust-based individuals. Trust-based relationships only work with accountability.

Enjoyed the show?

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Suzie Lewis

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