Education in Action (An Oak Knoll Series)

“Actions not words.”
– Cornelia Connelly, Founder of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus and
progenitor of the Holy Child Network of Schools.

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet, playwright, novelist,
scientist, statesman, theater director, and critic.

Students in the 21st century are surrounded by a turbulent sea of information. The job of a contemporary educator, then, is to guide students away from the briny ingestion of facts, figures, and data (and in so doing eliminate the risk of them drowning in “knowledge”) and instead teach them to swim — to remain afloat in an ever-rising ocean of information, to acquire skills and mastery of available resources, to synthesize information, to act upon it, and to recognize and reject the spurious.

Prior to the advent of computers, databases, the World Wide Web, and artificial intelligence, society depended on knowledge bearers and scribes. History, math, science, humanities, arts, literature, and other academic disciplines were harbored in the minds of scholars or moored within the pages of books and journals available only to the elite. Knowledge was king, and the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge to pupils was the goal of educational institutions.

Fast forward to the 21st century and just about every aspect of the academic universe is a click away from an algorithmically-driven internet query. Among the more than 65 trillion gigabytes of information at our fingertips, lies centuries of acquired knowledge, digitizations of just about everything ever written, painted, quoted, and sung. We no longer need to bear this knowledge as it is born for us on microchips and delivered to us through fiber optics. Our collective goal then, is to act upon this tsunami of information, acquire the skills to interpret the authentic from the disingenuous, and place knowledge in the context of our evolving world.

Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child was founded on Cornelia Connelly’s commitment to action over words. Today, that translates into an academic program that meets the needs of the information age. Students are empowered on a daily basis to take ownership and master their learning, make important decisions about their own educational experiences and assessments, and learn to create and apply knowledge while demonstrating their competencies rather than regurgitating facts and figures.

Stay tuned for our new Education in Action news series highlighting Oak Knoll’s approach to teaching multiple disciples across grades from PK-12 that seek to cultivate students who find purpose in their individual educational journeys. These ongoing case studies will illustrate the power of Competency Based Education (CBE) and the role it plays in fostering skill development while resulting in critical byproducts such as increased confidence, reduced anxiety, and improved self-image. We celebrate almost 100 years of education through “Actions, not words.”