Home > 21st Century Learning, Inquiry Learning > Learning to Make our Dreams Come True

Learning to Make our Dreams Come True

“The real shortage we face is dreams, and the wherewithal and the will to make them come true.” Seth Godin

The dreamy days of summer are still with us. Over the next few weeks families will bask in the last of our summer days and evenings, fully aware that the first day of the school year is almost upon us. What is is that makes the days of summer pass by with such a leisurely pace? Is it the length of the days? Perhaps. Or is it the mid-summer heat that slows both us, and the passage of time? Possibly. Or could it just be that in the summer months, or during any holiday time for that matter, we, both the young and not-so young, are more likely to entertain and follow our dreams.

My eldest son has dreams- he’s been working and saving for a few years to make one of his dreams come true- to buy a pick up truck.  And this summer he was able to accomplish this task.  After months of scouring the web to research vehicle reliability, price points and market trends- the perfect truck was located- a four hour drive from our home. Off we went on a Sunday morning for the 10 hour round trip, father and son, to meet the seller, kick the tires and (hopefully) buy the truck. Those who know me best will know that my mechanical knowledge is limited at best. I tagged along for two purposes; company for the ride and, I was owner of the credit card needed for the trailer rental.

Dream accomplished! After a test drive and examination, the papers were signed and, since the truck was not really road-worthy, we loaded the truck on the trailer and headed home. Did I mention that truck repair is also part of the dream?

As my son drove us home I pulled out my iPad and re-read Seth Godin’s recent manifesto on education tilted Stop Stealing Dreams– see where I’m going with this now?  Godin makes some proactive and necessary points about why and how our schools are struggling and offers some suggestions for those of us who wish to try to face this challenge and address these struggles. The e-book is accessible in multiple formats and can be downloaded for free by clicking on this link.  If you want to get a better sense of why and how we are trying to change our school, Stop Stealing Dreams is pretty much required reading. While you are at it, you can add Will Richardson’s book Why School? to the list too.

Back to my original point about dreams and the summertime; a lot of learning and growth occurs when we tap into our dreams and passions. It makes me wonder, is our school a dream-stealer or a dream-amplifier?  All great ideas and inventions are born of dreams- not the literal dreams of our sleep (though some actually are) – but dreams that are the stuff of hunches, random flickers of combinatory thoughts and the deep belief in the ‘possible’. I’m wondering about where we find that curriculum.

Or perhaps meeting this challenge is more about developing a set of habits rather than a curriculum or body of knowledge? Perhaps the questions we as adults, educators and parents, ought to be asking are; “what are we doing to fuel our students dreams?”, and “are our children learning to make their dreams come true?”

Learning to make our dreams come true is a phrase that, for me, best captures the kind of school we are working to create. This creation requires that we think and act differently, as teachers, as parents and as students:

  • It demands that we adapt our pedagogy and use our tools to connect and create networks and communicate what we are learning in new and different ways and to wider audiences.
  • It asks that we envision communities and workplaces where adaptability, creativity and resilience are valued over standardization and memorization and so that these habits of mind may be developed.
  • It requires that we understand that learning is a choice that requires effort, struggle and perseverance- it is an action we undertake not something that is passively received.

I hope our students, families and staff have had the chance to dream, play and learn over these summer weeks and look forward to the start of the school year so that we may continue… learning to make our dreams come true.

  1. November 20, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    As a Core French teacher, who chooses not to drill and kill, but instead to work on adaptability and creativity in real-world contexts, this really resonated with me. I love the idea of working to help our students (and us) realize that learning is not just about passive reception. Today, I was discouraged by one of my students, who “plays” the game of school really well, passionately arguing that we truly did not need the arts – that we could do without them, because they really don’t add anything to our real-world lives. This is a child who loves to experiment in the kitchen, and sees herself as a talented creative writer – but can’t see a link between that and music and art, which she sees as extras (and very codified). I’m working on helping her realize that some of her community of learners desperately needs those spaces to get through their day, and also to see the value engaging in those activities can bring to her own “dreaming big”. The journey goes on….

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