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As a principal I’m supposed to have a vision about education. I have one, but he isn’t enough helpful anymore. The slang words I’ve been using to express my vision weaken my message. I perceive my story lacks the rights words. I’ve been sharing my vision in columns, blogs and keynotes, ebullient and driven by conviction and passion. But I finally say what I actually don’t want to say. All the vitamins I added to empower my story will be eliminated by words and phrases like: ‘better education, more innovative schools, toppling the system, change, renewing education, 21st century skills, out of date, education 3.0’. Trendy words and phrases which are lastly nor sensible for the head neither appealing to the heart. What’s more, I don’t want education 3.0. I never did. I want education 0.0.

I want places where children continue learning so as they do since birth. Where the natural inclination towards curiosity won’t disappear from them because of correction and unlearning. Where wondering about the grandeur of the world and the consequential abundance of questions, let’s children no other choice than investigate and discover that world. Where students are challenged to answer the question: ‘In what world do we want to live?’ and where they understand the meaning of school and their own development into this. Where children remain learn because they are allowed to play.

Where a teacher is a driver’s mate of every student, he talks with students and has a firm trust in what students are capable of to reach in life. He gives space for self-regulated learning, because he knows that quality is already in children. He has the guts to release the skills and convictions from which he thought till then they are indispensable to be a good teacher. After which he subsequently discovers that it’s finally all about having a talk and relation with the student, about mutual trust between teacher and student and between colleagues, that the power of wisdom goes above professional knowledge and that not everything has to be done what is possible.

In such environments knowledge passes by at the highest level during the process children investigate the world, almost automatically. Together student and teacher will finally accomplish all the goals the national government requires. The results will be better; students leave school on a significant higher level in comparison to their starting level. Teachers will be more happy and contentedly. The costs (overhead) will be lower, which means that an increasing amount of government funding will be available for the noble work between students and teachers.

Many have reservations about the feasibility of these ideas. But in Roermond (Netherlands) we already do it – Agora – and – Agility in education – and at short notice we’ll going to make this possible at other places home and abroad. In the meantime an increasing number of teachers want to work in this way. And the huge current technological standard and opportunities will make it ultimately possible to organize customization and personalization of education in schools. This technology to be developed only needs two features: à la minute providing information about how performance and growth of each student has been taking place related to the final governmental goals and display this information in such a way that it motivates students to continue learning. Simplicity is sometimes the biggest challenge.

What should be done very soon is to design, develop and build such a technological platform for schools. Not each school by his own, because then the (financial) hazards are huge and the scope and scalability remain low. Better in collaboration between associations of schools, enterprises and government. The government should take responsibility for the money needed.

That would give a boost to set a huge step in suitable and sustainable education for every child and education 0.0 in particular.


This blog is to read in Dutch in the September magazine ‘Van 12 tot 18’.

Jan Fasen

Author Jan Fasen

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