It was a special event for me, being invited to the Cultivating Changemakers Conference at the European Parliament on February 6th in Brussels. The initiative came to life thanks to Amjad Bachir MEP and Chris Bradford, Co-Founder and CEO of African Leadership Academy. They brought together a brilliant group of thinkers about the future of education from all continents, amongst them the honorable Arusha Rahman from Pakistan, Prof. Tony Wagner from Harvard, Lai Cheng Lim from Singapore.

The diversity of panels offered interesting insights in the global community for education and how to cultivate changemakers. It needs to overcome traditionell learning/teaching structures. Opening up the curricula to self-learning journeys, leveraging the curiosity and different interests of students seems to be a promising way. It fosters motivation and enables to tackle problems of today and tomorrow. An interesting documentation “Most likely to succeed” can be seen here.

Providing feedback loops in the learning community, offering public acknowledgement of efforts and success, create transparency in the ongoing work to invite others to contribute, these were other recommendations during the conference. It was clear that this is not only valid for students at schools and Universities but for most learning journeys. A “student centered learning approach” instead of the “classical predefined teaching approach” is seen as the way for 21st century learning.

Discussions existed about the vast variety of learning systems in the different regions of the world. With a focus on Africa it may be chance to leapfrog old teaching systems and go straight into the new approach. The trust needed to be given to the students ability and willingness on the one hand side, asks for more “letting go of control and just look at the results” by the teacher who’s role becomes more the “facilitator of learning” instead of solely being “sender of knowledge”. My perception is that leaders should take a similar stance when it comes to education of teams.

Many things reminded me at ongoing discussions in Europe and Asia about “self-organization” vs. the more “control-orientated way”. The art will be to let go control and have set goals very clear to meet another expectations. This is the challenge for teachers and leaders for the 21st century.

The excellent panels and diskussions were completed by Hatim Eltayeb/ALA Dean, Dave Faulkner/Education Changemakers AUS, Elisa Guerra Colegio Valle de Filadelfia MEX, Paul Guernsey BecomingX UK, Asta Alfadala Wise UAE, Diego Benavides Latin Leadership Academy PER, Anna Bolero, Teach for all ES, Vikar Pota, Varkey Foundation UK, Matej Saba, LEAF Academy SK, Dr. David Sengeh SL, Koen Timbers De Verdiepening BE.