Over the past few years I’ve realized that I want to be an active participant in the coming revolution in education. My journey toward this realization has been unexpected and surprising. Over the past 16 years, I’ve worked in group homes of disenfranchised youth, counseled children and families in crisis, mentored high school students, raised my children, wrote a book for apprentices, created a successful apprenticeship program, and helped lead a remarkable community of mentors. Over the past year I’ve been connecting with many kindred spirits such as Dale Stephens and Elizabeth Stark, and through them I can catch glimpses of the revolution ahead.
If I make any contribution to this revolution it will be through my passion for, and my experience with, modern apprenticeships. I am launching what will become a community of apprenticeship program facilitators, mentors, and apprentices at apprentice.us.com. This site will be a place for apprentices to tell their stories, mentors to gain exposure, people to gain insight into how to develop their own self-directed apprenticeships, and learning how to develop formalized apprenticeship programs.
Based on my decade of experience with my own self-constructed apprenticeship in software development, and my observation of dozens of other apprenticeships, I firmly agree with Sir Ken Robinson that, “You cannot predict the outcome of human development, all you can do is create the conditions under which they will begin to flourish.” That eloquently sums up my philosophy on apprenticeship: 90% of apprenticeship is putting someone in the right context, and then getting out of their way. Seriously, stand aside. This is the point where teaching instincts need to be deferred in order to let the learning process proceed naturally in the fertile soil created by strong communities, thoughtful mentoring, cheap or free tools, and open information.
My initial mission for apprentice.us.com is to deliver a message to any person, organization, or company who finds it difficult to hire qualified candidates: There are amazing people who will exceed your expectations if you can adapt your hiring practices to accept less qualified candidates. The simplest first step toward this required adaptation is for people, organizations, and companies to get involved in mentoring outside of their usual social network. Through mentoring and apprenticeship, we have the power to transform the workplace, higher education, and ultimately, our society. My goal for the coming revolution in education is to see a society with a strong emphasis on learning emerge from our outdated emphases on diplomas, grades, and lecture halls.
If you’d like to learn more about this community of people with a passion for decentralized learning, visit apprentice.us.com.