Everything changed the day I stumbled onto the series “Chef’s Table” on Netflix. Chef after chef told their story of following an inner calling. They shared journeys of heartbreak, inspirational visions, years of experimentation, financial hardship. Each chef described an unstoppable desire to create transformational dining experiences that employed beauty, storytelling, and culinary alchemy which went far beyond making a meal.
I was transfixed.
The thought exploded into my mind in a moment. That’s what I want to create. That’s the benchmark. I want to create courses which provide an experience of learning as beautiful, emotional, delicious and surprising as these chefs.
Why not? Why can’t the experience of learning be that incredible?
So that’s the vision. That’s what I’m up for.
All sorts of questions have emerged for me over time:
Why can’t the process of learning be joyful, empowering and most of all induce the kind of curiosity and wonder in the world around us that we all had as young children?
Could a course be a thrilling experience like a movie or a fantastic book?
Could emotional moments be designed and heightened throughout the course to deliver humour, suspense, surprise, with unexpected twists and turns?
How quickly could a person be shifted from a world of extrinsic motivation learning for ticking boxes and getting a grade to a world of intrinsic motivation to learn because they feel genuinely excited and the experience is its own reward?
What are schools for and why don’t more people enjoy learning?
I’ve had the incredible privilege to work with hundreds of wonderful students as well as some incredible teachers, educators, and designers in a variety of learning environments exploring how we might improve education for both young people and adults.
Whilst technology opens up many possibilities to improve education I believe with increasing conviction that the greater advances for how learning happens will occur as we bring greater amounts of distinctly human qualities like honesty, vulnerability, passion, laughter, and an open heart into the mix.
And I am now beginning to realize that the underlying drive for doing all of this goes beyond making provocative and impactful learning experiences. It is a desire to discover the best environments possible for supporting others to become wholehearted humans who are in alignment with an inner purpose, have meaningful authentic connections with others and foster a truly deep experience of love.
- Jamie Engel
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