What is Purpose Driven Education?
Purpose Driven Education (PDE) is an educational framework, methodology and practice, rooted in a paradigm that states that the role of education should be to help learners identify, align with, and develop skills to pursue their True Inner Purpose.
4 Core Elements of Purpose Driven Education
Identity & Purpose (Authenticity)
Helping students to understand their personal identities and true inner purpose is to help them to gain a meaningful experience in education, that is going to help inspire them towards more empowered learning.
Creativity & The Arts
Creative and arts-based learning methods helps students to engage in deeper levels of embodied and experiential learning.
Equity & Social Justice
Understanding the context of larger society and social issues is an important stepping stone to supporting students to identify their true calling in life.
Well-Being & Healing
An integral approach to Well-Being includes social, emotional, physical, and mental health, which when in balance leads to a positive sense of self and spirit. Well-Being is essential to helping students to lead full and healthy lives.
The Purpose Driven Education paradigm places individuality and uniqueness of students’ natural talents and passions at the epicentre of its approach. The foundation of PDE is built on an understanding that each and every human being has a unique purpose in life. Through the lens of PDE, the underlying goal and objective to creating and delivering educational curriculua, its contents and structures, systems of evaluation and markers of success – is to help students identify, align with, and develop skills to pursue their true inner purpose.
PDE challenges the fundamental building blocks of how we have structured the education system in North America, which in recent years, has been dominated by standardized testing, and faced with challenges of widespread student disengagement. PDE provides a new perspective, and poses a question to the current systems of education: “what is the purpose of education?” and “what is the role of purpose within education?”
The Current Education System
A snapshot of the current system of education (that are not based in PDE) provides us with a view of the world where students are pushed into areas of study based on the assumed profits assigned to corresponding professions that exist within the economy. Put simply, you go to school so you can get a job that will provide you with an income that will provide a sense of security (be able to pay bills, provide for family, and save for retirement).
It feeds a narrative to students that in order to survive out in the real world, you have to meet and live up to the expectations set out by larger systems outside of yourself, over which you have very little control and agency. It teaches students that their uniqueness almost doesn’t even matter, and is in fact a problem if they are too far outside of the box of standardization set out by institutions, including schools.
The current system of education pits students in competition against one another to meet an arbitrary ideal based on standards that do not accurately measure the depth of what any given unique individual can offer to the world. In other words, each person alive has different talents, interests, modes of communication, and multiple intelligences for which our current education systems are inadequately set up to support and foster.
Very few students in our current public education system graduate with a solid sense of direction for their lives after high school. Upon graduating from secondary school, a large proportion of young adults enter the workforce or post-secondary education in fields that they have marginal interest, but do so to satisfy external pressures for success and/or survival. For many, this leads to a path of life as an adult that feels like a compromise, mundane, routine, and void of purpose. Many people sacrifice their uniqueness, and there by abandon their true inner purpose, in order to conform with the masses – which ultimately results in a dissatisfying life experience.
The assertion of PDE is that through the paradigm of centering and fostering individual’s unique talents, interests, and passions through our education system, it will lead to advances in innovation in human society, heightened levels of satisfaction and happiness with life within people, stronger communities, and higher rates of success in our schools.
Compatible and Complimentary Educational Paradigms and Practices
PDE is a new paradigm within the world of education that places importance on pursuing one’s passions, through personal development, self-reflection, reclaiming personal power, exercising intuition, working towards self-love, and building self-confidence. PDE encourages learners to pursue their true purpose in life, and is compatible with many existing educational paradigms and practices as listed below:
Existing tools and educational paradigms, pedagogies, practices that are compatible with PDE
- culturally responsive pedagogy (a.k.a culturally relevant pedagogy)
- student well-being
- multi-literacy & multi-modality
- theory of multiple intelligences
- arts-based education
- Creating Pathways to Success – program mandated by Ontario Ministry of Education for kindergarten to Gr 12
- anti-oppression framework
- meditation & mindfulness practices
- holistic health & healing practices
PDE in a large way builds off of the foundation laid by the culturally responsive pedagogy, and shares the same concerns about current levels of student disengagement in our schools.
Redefining the Purpose of Teacher-Student relationship
Under the PDE paradigm, there is an opportunity for Teachers and Students to re-define their relationship in the classroom to one of more depth, centred around purpose.
Role of the Student
Primary goal is to find their true purpose in life; and then to develop skills toward manifesting their purpose through self-mastery.
Role of the Teacher
To provide resources and support to help students build skills to help them identify, align with, and pursue their true purpose in life. To see student as capable human beings with an important mission in life to fulfill. Moving away from engagement tactics that are punitive to ones that are empowering.