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When the Mutual, Visual and Physical Spaces combine with the four foundational principles of relevance, empathy, action and lifelong learning, they produce a holistic learning environment. Education must go back to the simple, integrated format for which the greatest minds came from. Learning that is experiential, real and connected to all facets of life. Beyond economics, government policy, or environmental issues, R.E.A.L. education is the foundation for 21st century learning. 


Relevance | having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand.

Relevance in education focuses on a person’s needs according to time and context. Teaching that is relevant engages students both emotionally and connects prior knowledge to support the development of neural connections and long-term memory storage. Students must feel the information they are learning is useful, valuable and important for their future.

Relevance is most impactful when learning is connected to everyday life applications and when information moves from theory to practice. Background knowledge through scaffolding, additionally supports relevance by bridging the knowledge gap of new learning material. Relevant, real world instruction can empower students to take ownership of their learning experiences. Relevance matters.


Empathy | the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. 


Empathy in education is a teachable attribute innate in all people. We learn from a young age to “feel what others feel”. When taught specifically and modeled, empathy teaches us to understand another person’s point of view, while using the information to inform our actions based on the situation. Whether a hug, helping hand, or a shoulder to cry on, compassionate action takes shape when empathy is enacted. The golden rule “treat others as you want to be treated” (or similar variation) is evident in nearly all cultures and ethnicities.

Empathy teaches us how to interact with each other without judgement. Interactions that use empathy allows us to build social connections with others, regulate our own emotions, and promotes helping behaviors.  A culture of respect, trust and teamwork are established when empathy is understood, modeled, and reinforced.  Empathy matters.


Action | the manner or method of performing. 


Action in education is a driving force for active engagement.  Daily activity that includes mental and physical experiences are needed to support creative and critical thinking skills in learning. Active learning allows students to be fully engaged in their education through hands-on learning, collaborative group work, and memorable experiences. Experiences that are mentally and physically demanding develop deeper learning connections. We remember what we touch.

Taking active brain breaks during instruction allows the brain to retain information and focus attention. While the instructional approach sets the stage for an active classroom, the way a learning space is physically set up is equally important to the overall success of the active approach. Being mentally and physically active benefits the body and mind through reducing stress, improving mood and overall mental health.  Action Matters.  


Lifelong Learning | knowledge acquired by systematic study in any field or scholarly application. 


Lifelong-Learning is a process where one can learn, unlearn and relearn continuously. History’s greatest pioneers, inventors, and leaders have utilized continuous learning to create and improve important human advancements such as transportation, agriculture and technology. Through trial and error, creating and destroying, defining and redefining, lifelong learning provides us a wealth knowledge on how to continually develop. Lifelong learning builds innovation and creativity in finding solutions for age-old problems still waiting to be solved.

Lifelong Learning does not take place in a single location, at a certain time, or in one attempt, but is flexible, timeless and omnipresent. Students in the 21st century can now learn from anyone, anywhere and anytime. Continuous improvement encourages an endless pursuit to understanding the world around us and how to make it better, including ourselves. Lifelong Learning matters.