The Five-Step Solution

So here – as promised – the Ned Hallowell five-step solution for happiness and all that ails us including schools and schooling. And as presented at Mohonk on Friday it was a welcome antidote to the one-size-fits-all formula of more of the same that has failed us for decades.

It is always good to be skeptical of anyone who claims to have the secret to success. So apply your own personal smell tester or use what Hemingway called, and Neil Postman said all students need to acquire, a “crap detector.”

And so here are the five steps:

  1. Connection
  2. Play
  3. Work
  4. Progress
  5. Recognition

There’s plenty of flesh to put on the skeleton but that was the framework for Dr. Hallowell’s talk.

And it begins with connection – that’s the glue, the magic, the essential force, the cornerstone the bedrock essential.  Connection – that’s the relationships that schools build with, between and amongst children, teachers and families. It extends to the connections with ideas, nature, the story of the past and the aspirations for the future.  The attachment between parents and children is the spinal cord.  The school contributes by structuring for relationships – by becoming a hotbed of connection – the place of caring and trust where the dots are linked between and amongst people, ideas, knowledge and aspirations. School can be the place where children play, work, make progress toward their goals and be recognized for their efforts.

That’s the nutshell version.

Photo: davide ragusa

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