Toby Newton | Nation of Learning Excellence

Toby Newton

Toby Newton

Mr. Toby Newton

Certified Play for Peace Trainer

Human Technologies (HT) is an alternative approach to curriculum that is necessarily cross-disciplinary and intellectually dynamic. HT is based on a series of interconnected assumptions, which condense down to this understanding: an individual’s operational, situated or lived “intelligence” lies not so much in her raw “brain power” or so-called IQ, but rather in the decisions and choices she makes when connecting with, being influenced by and acting on the thinking of others, past and present.

In this formulation, technologies are conceived not just as physical tools but equally as mental operations, scripts, strategies, protocols and methodologies i.e. any culturally available device that guides our thought and action. HT posits 5 categories of technology: somatic (e.g. breathing, running, ‘power poses’), cognitive (e.g. language, numeracy, the scientific method), material (e.g. computers, chairs, shoes, foodstuff), social (e.g. giving and receiving feedback, leadership and teamwork skills, jokes) and spiritual (e.g. yoga, mindfulness, exercise regimens, tree-bathing). Most technologies overlap categories, so that the key conceptual technology for understanding HT is the Venn diagram. HT insists all technologies can be learned and unlearned. As such, HT is a message of hope to all learners who are willing to be supported in their growing mastery of productive technologies and their eschewing of harmful ones.

Human Technologies provides for a thoroughgoing reframing of cultural practice, beginning in schools, with young people not yet wholly conditioned by experience. Human enterprise, in its infinite forms, is revealed in large part as a choice among available technologies, all of human invention, all of which can be reviewed, recast or if necessary, rejected to support healthful living.

Toby Newton has worked in education since 1992, assuming senior leadership responsibilities since 2002, initially in the UK and since 2008 in Hong Kong. Trained as an English teacher, he quickly diversified into Film and Media and was Assistant Principal Examiner for Media Studies at AQA between 2005 to 2008. He has taught courses in Film and C20th Social Theory at Kings College London and Brunel University. He has an abiding interest in the interface between the emotions and learning, curriculum design, and whole person development. Toby is currently Head of School at International College Hong Kong (ICHK).