The Global Institute for Transformative Education (GITE), Inc. is a non-profit institution providing professional and technical services in the education sector. It focuses on the quality and effectiveness of curriculum design, pedagogy, school reform, assessments, school leadership, and research. In GITE, we place the needs, experiences, and interests of students at the forefront of our instructional and curricular designs. We leverage our technical expertise and professional experiences in education to maximize educational outcomes for students and the society. We believe in the power of education to transform socioeconomic lives of students and their countries. We also believe in community, government, and institutional partnerships in rethinking, redefining, reassessing the educational needs of a community and a country. We have a pool of experts in various subjects that we tap into to ensure that we provide quality professional and staff development services to effectively tackle societal issues through education.
A Brief History of GITE
The idea of transformative education model in Africa and in other parts of the world has been in gestation since Daniel Baron and Michael Ndemanu first met in 2009 when the latter enrolled his children in The Bloomington Project School (BPS), a charter school, co-founded by Daniel. Given his several years of experience teaching in Cameroon, Michael did not cease to be fascinated by phenomenal speed at which his children’s ‘creative potentials accelerated at BPS. After sitting through some of the BPS classes and observing teachers teach, Michael and Daniel began talking in more serious terms about promoting project-based and student-centered pedagogy in Africa. Another colleague, Serafin M. Coronel-Molina, originally from Peru, would join the conversation a few years later. His contribution was enormous. Being a very detail-oriented guy, he helped broaden the conceptualization of the notion of transformative education in Africa to engulf the entire world. Thus, we transitioned from Institute for Transformative Education in Africa to Global Institute for Transformative Education (GITE).
The dream of these three colleagues for a transformative education materialized when they resolved to incorporate GITE in Bloomington, Indiana in 2014 and began organizing a pioneer World Conference on Transformative Education (WCTE) in the historic town of Kakamega in July 2018. The theme of the conference is “Rethinking, Curriculum, Pedagogy and Research in Africa.”
The mission of GITE is to collaborate with local governments around the world to render educational experiences truly transformative for learners, educators, and researchers. GITE works with teachers, educators, and researchers to expose them to optimal instructional strategies, transformative leadership, and inquiry methods that lead to better educational and research outcomes for their students and the society. GITE provides curricular and instructional development to teachers, students, researchers and community members with a primary goal of achieving a highly transformative result; works collaboratively with teachers, educators worldwide to make educational outcomes more transformative; prepare students, teachers and researchers to be ready to face the new educational challenges of 21st century; and makes place-based, problem-based, and project-based learning the norm across the world.
To further this mission, GITE is working diligently in planning the first World Conference on Transformative Education (WCTE), which will take place in the historic town of Kakamega, Africa in July 2018. The theme of the conference is “Rethinking, Curriculum, Pedagogy and Research in Africa.” GITE anticipates participation in the conference from educators of students of all ages, researchers, and other stakeholders in the transformative education movement.
We provide professional assistance to the academic staff of schools that are interested in GITE’s vision and mission and to work with schools as well as community organizations at both national and international levels that are committed to a transformative educational process that is grounded in equity, social justice and environmental sustainability. We believe that teachers need our technical support to break loose from the stranglehold of traditional, teacher-centered pedagogy with little consideration for environmental education.
To accomplish this vision, GITE supports meaningful educational experiences that develop the community leaders of tomorrow – leaders who understand how to identify societal problems and utilize just and sustainable methods toward meaningful solutions- we can create lasting change and better the world for everyone. In addition, GITE provides professional support nationally and internationally in the creation of new, just, and equitable schools as well as the transformation of existing traditional schools to reflect the standards of transformative education envisioned by its founding members.
In addition to continuing the work GITE is currently doing to support new charter schools based on the transformative education model and organizing the initial WCTE, GITE plans on supporting existing nonprofit transformative schools through leadership, governance, and community engagement trainings, consulting, and research. This work is conducted by the Executive Director and other directors of GITE. We facilitate this work from our offices in Bloomington and Indianapolis, Indiana, as well as on-site at various locations around the world. We believe that this work furthers our tax-exempt purpose because it fulfills our stated mission, as outlined in our Bylaws, as well as supports the work of other 501(c)(3) organizations.
As a non-profit organization, we depend on grants and donations to run the activities spelled out in our bylaws. In the near future, this work will also be funded, in part, through consultative fees paid to GITE by other education systems needing our technical expertise.
The Global Institute for Transformative Education (GITE) filed its articles of incorporation in late 2014. Since then, it has been organizing the first World Conference on Transformative Education (WCTE). The WCTE promotes the concepts of transformative teaching, learning, leadership, and research in countries whose education systems are incongruous with the current socioeconomic realities of current times.
The conference will take place in July 26-28, 2018 in the Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) located in the historic town of Kakamega in Kenya, Africa, and the theme of the conference is “Rethinking Curriculum, Pedagogy and Research in Africa.”
As part of the planning for this conference, GITE’s founders have been speaking with the officials of MMUST and other stakeholders in the Kenyan educational community in order to encourage widespread participation in the conference. Outside of planning for the conference, the founders have also begun to design and develop the curricula guides and other necessary background material for school systems in any country which is interested in more measurable and impactful educational outcomes.
Transformative education creates autonomous, independent thinkers; is critical to cultural, economic, and political advancement; and leads to positive transformation of both the learners and society. Among other things, transformative education:
- Teaches critical thinking skills;
- Promotes discovery learning through project-based activities, place-based, and project-based learning
- Focuses on education for environmental sustainability and social justice
- Demonstrates collaboration as the norm and working in isolation, an anomaly
- Promotes cultural exchange programs;
- Provides inclusive and personalized learning plans;
- Encourages students, teachers, and communities to rethink curricula;
- Creates spaces for students to analyze the universe;
- Inculcates research inquiry skills;
- Immerses learners in transformative leadership skills for their schools and communities;
- Encourages student-teacher partnerships;
- Challenges students to be active rather than passive learners; and
- Boosts computer and technological competency.
The Problem with traditional education
In many countries worldwide, education is not transformative. Many schools use textbooks which are divorced from students’ lives and experiences. Rote memorization and regurgitation of “facts” is emphasized. Curriculum at every grade level is often one-size-fits-all, and no attention is paid to children with special needs. Student misbehavior is often controlled through severe punishment. Furthermore, there are limited and haphazard ways to evaluate the quality of educational outcomes and minimal ways to create systemic change from within.
The education systems must be designed in a way that fosters economic growth and tackles systemic unemployment; poverty; civic disengagement; disease epidemics; local and global citizenship, political instability, deforestation and other societal issues not being addressed in the curriculum. Education must move away from its traditional focus and toward providing young global citizens an education better suited for interconnected competitive global economies while sustaining natural resources. Such a move requires a dramatic shift in how policymakers around the world (and especially in developing countries) think about leadership, teaching, learning, and research.
According to NSF, “transformative research involves ideas, discoveries, or tools that radically change our understanding of an important existing scientific or engineering concept or educational practice or leads to the creation of a new paradigm or field of science, engineering, or education. Such research challenges current understanding or provides pathways to new frontiers.” Transformative Research:
- Revolutionalizes current scientific paradigms;
- Improves the social and political capital of nations by adopting new research paradigms
- Innovates the existing fields of study through paradigms shifts in research
- Articulates in new and meaningful ways theory and practice for a sustainable education.
- Challenges traditional/conservative research paradigms
- Reframes the boundaries of research and knowledge
- Advances research from multiple perspectives and connect it to practice
- Promotes participatory research
- Stimulates action research.
To transform poverty-stricken places across the globe into a place of great wealth, economic opportunities, harmonious religious and ethnic co-existence, innovative technology, globally competitive economies, enviable inventions (a true global breadbasket), policy makers and educators must be ready to shun a Victorian Age education system which is already antiquated, and instead embrace creative, critical, problem-solving, and project-based instructional strategies which are catalysts to groundbreaking inventions, sound economic growth, and globally competitive workforce in the 21st Century.