Why our CEO is Inspired by a World of Learning

At Good Work Foundation (GWF) we have always had as our mission to challenge education.

How we learn? What we learn? And for us all, the all-important: Who has access to that learning?

The GWF Open Learning Academy team have set about to create an educational space where young people from rural South Africa can access learning and get excited by learning again. Too often the natural curiosity of children is contained – especially in schools with little resources and large numbers.

To re-excite these learners we have really tried to create a wonder-filled learning environment and I believe we have done so successfully. These children learn everyday, excited by computers, tablets, apps, robots, drones, the natural world, adventure and great teachers.

I have, over the past few months, been lucky enough to be travelling and sharing the GWF story with people all across the UK and USA. And it has been wonderful! But more on that in another blog. What I would like to add is that I have been lucky enough to do the travelling with my daughter, Maya. It has been amazing to see her learning as we travelled and as she was immersed in a wonder-filled adventure.

As a teacher and as a mother it is great to watch how natural curiosity allows young children to explore their worlds and in so doing, learn. The world has so much to offer and it is a great privilege to be experiencing just some of what it does.

How real is the learning when you stand on the Arctic Circle and start to understand how the world is divided into hemispheres and that you can stand on the Tropic of Capricorn in the Kruger National Park and then on the Arctic Circle in Alaska. When you see that trees breathe out water vapour – because it freezes around them. When you stand together under the greatest dinosaur ever discovered. And wander through ancient civilisations and their stone circles.

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A pink GWF jacket makes it to Alaska.

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Wonder-filled learning.

Or you become the art that you discover in the streets of London and play on beaches on the edge of another ocean. Learn to care for creatures tenderly, learn to drive when you are eight (why not?) and plant vegetables with friends.

You learn about magic and wonder. About adventure and trying new things. You learn about the world and all it can offer and you learn to appreciate home.

I have always believed that the best learning happens when it is wonderful and wonder-filled.  And this trip has just re-enforced that belief a hundred fold.

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For many years GWF has been requested by its USA friends and family to create a North America roadshow as part of its fundraising campaign. In 2016, with the help of so many people, that trip was made possible.

And have also been known to stand on a soap box and talk about the fact that the learners who will be living in the world that we can barely imagine, need to be able to know about everything as wide ranging as growing their own food to programming robots.

It is impossible for us to teach all these things to all children but we can inspire them to learn and show them where to get the information they need. We can show them that learning and life is an adventure and that every single one of them has the ability to take part.

Maya and I have been lucky enough to travel and experience wonderful learning moments but through GWF and its rural campus, technology allows us to continually bring the world to rural Mpumalanga.

To read Maya’s blog, click here.

By Good Work Foundation CEO, Kate Groch.

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