Weaving a Colorful Cloth: Centering Education on Humans’ Emergent Developmental Potentials

We integrate work from human development, psychology, education, and neuroscience to argue for five interrelated developmental principles that together provide the conceptual basis for a fundamental shift in thinking in education about the nature of learning, and hence the work of teaching, and the purpose and design of schools and youth-facing policies. These principles foreground humans’ natural agency, subjectivity, and variability and the dynamic, adaptive interdependence of body, mind, and culture in development and learning. We take the analogy of weaving cloth to highlight the properties and valuable variations of effective educational systems. We argue that reconceptualizing learning is necessary to meaningfully improve schooling and its outcomes, support equity and human dignity, and ultimately, build a sustainable democratic society

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