Dr Stephen Harris is the Co-Founder and Director of Learning at Learnlife, Barcelona. He currently lives across two cities – Barcelona and Sydney, crossing the globe frequently! Learnlife started as the Our Dream School Project. Learnlife Barcelona is a lighthouse hub – the pioneer space for lifelong learning in downtown Barcelona. A state-of-the-art learning community, it is the first in a worldwide network of learning hubs meant to accelerate change in existing education models through personal purpose-based based learning. It features a series of creative studios designed to inspire learners through evidence-driven best practices from innovative schools around the world. Learnlife now has three Hubs operating out of the Barcelona project. The Learnlife Urban Hub is in the centre of Barcelona and has full and part time programmes for teenagers. The Learnlife Nature Hub is located on one of the southern beaches of Barcelona – in a location immediately linked to the beach and the neighbouring forest. The Learnlife Remote Hub has commenced to cater for learners interested in learning from anywhere and anytime.
Stephen was the Principal of Northern beaches Christian School (NBCS) from 1999 – 2017. Under his leadership the school gained international recognition as an organisation that was noted for leading pedagogic change in schooling. His design briefs for buildings have seen the creation of some of the most forward-focused learning environments, enjoyed by the students and staff, and appreciated by thousands across the world (vimeo.com/242000597). In 2005, Stephen founded the Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning. His vision was to embed innovation into everyday school practice. Stephen received recognition at the inaugural 2011 Australian Awards for Outstanding Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), as the Australian Secondary Principal of the Year (NSW). Stephen was also recognised in 2017 as a recipient of the prestigious John Laing Award by Principals Australia Institute (PAI) presented to exceptional school leaders.
“Schools must embrace a new paradigm and move away from what was once thought of as “school”.
Stephen Harris has been in education for more than 40 years, with teaching experience across almost every grade from Kindergarten to Year 12. He has been a school leader for 30 years. Stephen studied to be a secondary English teacher, trained in primary teaching method, and has completed a Master of Letters in Australian Literature. Stephen completed his PhD thesis in 2019, looking at Vision as a Catalyst for School Change. His firm belief is that every person should love learning, and that it is the responsibility of schools or other learning institutions to relentlessly seek to engage students in their learning. No child should be excluded.
This new paradigm is one where learning is personal and collaborative, technology is adaptive, spaces are radically different to the traditional mindset, and a community built on positive relationships is at the core. Teaching and learning culture must be informed by global trends towards change in routines, expectations, perceptions, technology and organization structures in the 21st century.
Links to the project