So, it finally happened, did it?
First it was Gates, Zuckerberg, and Oprah.
But unlike those corporate-type folk who seem to know how to fix the system, Seth Godin asks the simple question: What’s high school for?
And unlike the upper-class illuminati who believe that an allegiance with corporate America is the only way to fix the static and ineffectual public school system, Godin gets it. It’s a much simpler solution; one that asks educators to reconnect with their students. So…
- How to focus intently on a problem until it’s solved. For too often we give up ourselves, and of course, why should we expect our students to persevere in the face of adversity?
- The benefit of postponing short-term satisfaction in exchange for long-term success. Once again, in the age of entitlement (helped mostly by baby boomer parents), this is a tough rough to overhaul and repave. But, it’s one worth hoeing.
- How to read critically. Remember, the Northwestern Tree Octopus?
- The power of being able to lead groups of peers without receiving clear delegated authority. Sadly, the concept of self-direction may be all but dead; online courses certainly haven’t improve its chance. A diet of prescriptive curriculum lead blindly by the need for standardized testing has numbed both teacher and student. Can you blame ’em?
- An understanding of the extraordinary power of the scientific method, in just about any situation or endeavor. I used to cringe at having to teach the scientific method in my science classes. And like many of my science-teacher-type colleagues, I would gloss over a simple process that requires critical thinking and analysis, and problem solving attributes on many levels. I simply didn’t know how to properly utilize this methodology and expand its relevance; a disconnect was evident.
- How to persuasively present ideas in multiple forms, especially in writing and before a group. As a young student, not engaging in formal public speaking assignments was not an option at the various schools I attended. And to this day, I’m so glad that it wasn’t.
- Project management. Self-management and the management of ideas, projects and people. So few of us are equipped to take the lead; to enter a place outside our comfort zone when working with others (especially, strangers) that for many adults it is a paralyzing thought.
- Personal finance. Understanding the truth about money and debt and leverage. As a forty-year old with a solid amount of personal finance training (both formal and informal), I’m a far better financial position than many of my peers. My focus is not about making ends ‘meat’, but enjoying it.
- An insatiable desire (and the ability) to learn more. Forever. Again, if parents and teachers cannot effectively model this type of behaviour, then what chances do our students have?
- Most of all, the self-reliance that comes from understanding that relentless hard work can be applied to solve problems worth solving. But, I’m not even sure that school alone can teach self-reliance. Mom and dad, are you listening?