How can we create a just, healthy, and humane world? What is the path to developing sustainable energy, food, transportation, production, construction, and other systems? What’s the best strategy to end poverty and ensure that everyone has equal rights? How can we slow the rate of extinction and restore ecosystems? How can we learn to resolve conflicts without violence and treat other people and nonhuman animals with respect and compassion?
The answer to all these questions lies with one underlying system—schooling. To create a more sustainable, equitable, and peaceful world, we must reimagine education and prepare a generation to be solutionaries—young people with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to create a better future. This book describes how we can (and must) transform education and teaching; create such a generation; and build such a future.
“If we are putting hope for the future of our planet in our young people, then they must have the tools and feel empowered to take on the world’s greatest challenges. The World Becomes What We Teach offers such direction for the very educators who are working with these young people today. I applaud such efforts and hope to see many educators and young people alike gain important insight from what Zoe Weil offers in this book.” —Jane Goodall, DBE, Ph.D. Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute, UN Messenger of Peace
“The World Becomes What We Teach may be the most important book, with both the simplest and most powerful answers, to address the challenges we face in our world effectively, meaningfully, and positively. If we heed Zoe Weil’s call to educate a generation of solutionaries, we will witness the unfolding of a truly just, compassionate, and healthy world. Read this book for the sake of any children you love and the future of us all.”—Matt Goldman, Co-founder Blue Man Group and Blue School
“In light of the need for life-long learning in a changing world, Zoe Weil’s call to ‘adopt a more relevant and meaningful purpose for schooling; make schools real-world and solutionary-focused; and prepare teachers to educate their students to be solutionaries,’ is logical and essential. The evidence is clear that this kind of teaching and learning is already happening. There are a great many stories of children and young people contributing to a healthy, humane, and sustainable future through school, and many examples of what educators can do to make this happen. Zoe illustrates why schools need to change and then shows us what the new narrative looks like. It is compelling. This book will change you.”—Jaimie P. Cloud, President, The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education
“This book takes on conventional reformist thinking, unfetters the educational imagination, and repositions the very notion of ‘relevance’ in schooling to meet the critical issues of this era on Earth. Zoe opens a doorway onto a new landscape for teaching, learning, the development of curriculum, and the purpose of schooling itself. Then she hands us a map, a GPS, and travel guide. This book, once well dog-eared and coffee-stained, should grace the shelves of any educator or transformational leader truly committed to children, the Earth, and a just, sustainable society.”—Khalif Williams, Director, The Bay School
“Zoe Weil is an important player in the emerging worldwide movement to make education more about applying our newly empowered young people’s passions and capabilities to making their world a better place. I hope that this book informs the thinking and practice of as many parents and educators as possible, that a great many Solutionary Schools get created and thrive in the world, and that my son grows up in a world full of solutionaries—and becomes one!”—Marc Prensky, Founder and Executive Director, The Global Future Education Foundation and Institute
“Imagine if Zoe Weil’s vision was the default setting for a system of schools and communities creating learning environments rich with joy, curiosity, complexity, and an undeniable belief that we are all capable—from student to community—in making a positive, long-term impact on the world around us. Better, imagine if you—the reader—realizes that this book is your invitation to be both a solutionary in your own life and a co-conspirator in creating a system of solutionary schools in communities far and wide. This is Zoe Weil’s belief. And this is your invitation to co-design a remarkable future for students, teachers, schools, and communities ahead.”—Christian Long, founding partner, WONDER, by design: a learning and design expedition
“Zoe Weil asks the questions we need to thoughtfully answer not only for our system of education but also for our future on this planet. I have worked in education for over 25 years, from experiential outdoor education to service-learning in classroom settings. Weil’s model and vision is more oriented toward effective systems-thinking than any other approach to education I have encountered. This book serves as a guide to action and will help us make school meaningful, joyful, and solutionary.”—Barbara Fiore, Education Consultant, Former Program Director, Hurricane Island Outward Bound School
“Zoe Weil sees a world the rest of us are still struggling to make out—one that is more equitable, restorative and compassionate, and one in which we are all more empathetic and at peace. The World Becomes What We Teach is a manifesto for the future of education, and a series of recipes for teaching children that a humane world is not just possible—it’s inevitable, as long as we help young people engage in work that provides a slice of the solution, and a way of discovering their most authentic selves.”—Sam Chaltain, Author of Faces of Learning and co-producer of A Year at Mission Hill
“Zoe Weil offers a vision for education that is based on respect for children’s curiosity, creativity, and capabilities. She shows how educational practices can be based on genuine hope and shares a blueprint for how to reform education with imagination, rigor, and love for the world. This is a brilliant, necessary, uplifting book.”—Kathleen Roberts Skerrett, Dean of Arts and Sciences, University of Richmond
“Zoe Weil’s The World Becomes What We Teach is the work of a visionary educator that questions the assumptions of our country’s traditional, competitive approach to education and offers one based on cooperation and collaboration. Not only is it a powerful indictment of how our schools inhibit creativity and critical thinking, her pedagogy empowers students to imagine and create the world they want. I highly recommend this book to educators, parents, and anyone who wants to make the world a better place.”—Arnold Greenberg, Founder of Miquon Upper School, Deep Run School of Homesteading and Community, and Liberty School—A Democratic Learning Community
“If you want to learn how we can create an education system and a world that is more humane, peaceful, equitable, and resilient, you must read this book. It might just cause you to reevaluate your assumptions about living and learning.”—Nikhil Goyal, author of Schools on Trial: How Freedom and Creativity Can Fix our Educational Malpractice
“This is an important book from an important thinker in the field of education. Zoe’s original ideas are based on decades of practical hands-on work. She creates an optimistic vision of what can be if we are willing to rethink educational models to meet the needs of our twenty-first-century world.”—Doug Alexander, President, Actua Corporation