Though there are plenty of trends in education today, “relational learning” is here to stay. Relational learning is when learners and educators co-create learning experiences and engage in dialogue to learn from each other—fostering social and emotional growth for all. The blog post “Relational learning . . . .say what?” by AERO (Alternative Education Resource Organization) features a white paper by the Carnegie Institute detailing how young people need these types of educational opportunities. Amongst its recommendations is the call for students to have easily available mentors and for teachers to be trusted role models—both of which are features of SelfDesign.

AERO adds to Carnegie’s suggestions with even more qualities of SelfDesign. For example, AERO and SelfDesign similarly believe that schools should be “real” communities: places where learners share the responsibility of educating themselves and each other and where opportunities for co-operation and the exchange of ideas and energy are frequent and inspired. Learning aboutrelationships and inrelationship are at the heart of relational learning and SelfDesign. Everything we experience is shaped by the relationships that surround us. So it seems natural that our happiness and contribution to the world depend on our ability to learn and grow through these connections.