The Becoming Life

Educating for Becoming

Educating for becoming is embedded throughout history. It is an education that empowers and equips young people to imagine what they can become and to journey toward the aspirations they have created. It is education that awakens our common humanity, one that seeks for beauty and yearns for fulfillment. Education for becoming is education to think well. It is education that develops our ability to think clearly and deeply about who we are, and what we can or should become both intellectually and morally. Good thinking embodies wisdom. It is what distinguishes humankind from all other creatures. It is a common human endowment.

Education for becoming cultivates our capacity to learn, synthesize, harmonize, and create meaning for ourselves: now and into the future. Education for becoming teaches young people to know the past: their own, their society’s, their world’s. It teaches them that learning requires listening, reflecting, and active discourse among diverse interests. And while it teaches them to derive conclusions, it also teaches them that all knowledge is, in part, tentative; it requires thoughtful revisits to learn more deeply and more broadly.

Education for becoming is education for all children. It is not merely preparation for high school, college, or beyond. It is not merely education for employment. It is not merely education for a democracy. Education for becoming is so much more because it is an education to realize one’s potential and place in the world no matter how the world changes, no matter what obstacles arise, no matter the circumstances the future holds. It is education to live nobly among others and help create a society that provides a way and a place to become for all its members.

Where “education for becoming” occurs, we do not see much difference in outward appearance from traditional educational settings. Instruction in mathematics, science, literature, writing, history, and geography remains. In today’s high tech world, we might also see curriculum for technology, coding, and design thinking. But at a school where becoming is preeminent, there is a hidden curriculum, a curriculum whose goal is to equip and energize children to become, to live the becoming life.
 
 
“Birchwood School of Hawken provides more than an education. It provides key life lessons. I learned that it is easy to be average or ordinary, but it takes courage to excel; it takes hard work and the setting of goals to be your best; it takes character and a sense of responsibility to succeed. These words impacted me then and continue to shape my attitudes. My Birchwood experience not only equipped me for higher education, but gave me lifelong tools to reach my potential and become a productive person in society.”
Birchwood Graduate