What makes an excellent learner? What needs must be met for young adults to achieve excellence in their education, schooling, and workplace? Dr. Malick Kouyate, inspirational speaker and educational philosopher, frames his book for adolescents aged 12-18 and their mentors around these questions.
Kouyate defines education as more than “one-size fits all” knowledge; genuine education finds “the king in every kid,” “the leader in every follower.” He exhorts youths to listen to their inner calling to uncover their higher self and bridge the gap between their inner light and the realities of the external world.
Kouyate identifies the seven “Deepest Educational Needs” on the road to Excellence in Education (EIE): social integration, self-navigation, congruency (aligning one’s internal and external learning worlds), true meaning in one’s life, awakening one’s positive “sleeping giant,” singing a unique love song, and “mindful culture production” (stepping outside the limited human construct, questioning the world, leaving a legacy).
Drawing on the collective wisdom of great religious and spiritual traditions, Kouyate offers sidebars with anecdotes and quotations from Socrates, Buddha, Galileo and others, including a chapter on his own “rocky road to excellence in education.” He also outlines the philosophical, sociological, spiritual and personal barriers to EIE.
The book presents several reading challenges. There are contrived, acronym-based formulas for finding Excellence in the Workplace (EIW) and in schools (EIS), jargony malapropisms (references to a “dialogical encounter,” for example) and title misspellings. Because Kouyate addresses his diverse audience (young adults, parents, teachers, coaches, school and community leaders, law enforcement professionals) as “you,” one wonders exactly to whom he makes his passionate appeal.
Mindfulness is but a starting point for transforming an educational system. While Kouyate’s book reminds us why education matters for a quality life, he offers no practical framework to do so. Educators and students might find the author’s optimism inspirational, but they’ll not find a useful roadmap for completing his transformational journey in these pages.
Also available as an ebook.