How might we design
contemporary rites of passage
to cultivate the lower-case “s” soul
in young people as a critical disposition
for leadership in an uncertain future?
After a decade uncovering how successful schools are designed at the George Lucas Educational Foundation, Betty became troubled by a contradiction: We know how to engage and empower kids in their own learning, with practices like project-based learning, social and emotional learning, design thinking, performance-based assessment, strength-based language, and mentorships, which benefit students of all ages, ethnicities, cultures, and socioeconomic statuses.
Yet for all our nuanced understanding of what works in education, young people are suffering psychologically more than ever. Rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicide are soaring. WHY?
With these questions in mind, she enrolled in a graduate program at Teachers College, Columbia University called the Spirituality Mind Body Institute where she researched the crucial importance of addressing the (lower case "s") soul as a means of empowering students with resilience, flexibility, compassion, critical moral reasoning and other critical skills for our uncertain future.
Having gone through her own rite of passage in her mid-20s, Betty knew of the power of this archetypal process on the soul. She began to explore how we might take what we know from the education and psychology research and combine it with traditional rites of passage practices to cultivate the skills and dispositions our young people will need to thrive in our uncertain future.
Betty is a 2020 Mira Fellow where she is developing a student-centered rites of passage program for young people age 5-19.