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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What is School For

Seth Godin posses this question in his 16 minute TED talk and runs us through that horrific story of the invention of high school.  It was the Industrial Revolution,  newly born factories needed workers who were compliant, trained to do a task repeatedly and be productive.  That school created 100 years ago was invented to create those citizens.  Is that what we need of school today?  Mr. Godin's compelling argument says absolutely not and he spells out why with three observations.  In todays world:
  • If it’s perceived as work, people will try to figure out how to do less of it. If it’s perceived as art, people will try to figure out how to do more of it.
  • We are really good at measuring how many dots our kids collect, but we teach nothing about how to connect these dots.
  • If you care enough about your work to be willing to be criticized for it, then you have done a good day’s work.
If you don't have 16 minutes to watch this, use the summary by blogger Jeff Zoul that reflects his reasoning.  The dots are the bits of information we expect kids to "learn."  These dots have historically been collected and recorded as grades.   Some of those dots are behavioral, compliance and memorization.  What should we be doing?  Connecting the dots;  ". . . fostering individual exploration, passion, critical thinking, questioning and building interesting things."  Godin predicts 8 things that will be happening in our schools when we teach to make connections, not just to learn.  It would be a chilling vision for a traditional educator.

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