Education as a Process

Seth Godin is a best selling author and a Marketing subject matter expert.  He has written a new free ebook called ‘Stop Stealing Dreams’.  It is available on Squidoo.com.

He asks some very thoughtful questions – starting with…

What is School for?

Are we trying to create a society that is culturally coordinated?  Are we trying to further science and knowledge and pursue information for its own sake?  Are we trying to enhance civilization while giving people the tools to make informed decisions?  Or are we trying to train people to become productive workers?

Taking a process view, the steps consist of specific classes taught by teachers.  The process begins in kindergarten and ends at grade 12 [or does it end here?].  He asks the great process improvement question – What is a successful outcome?

We line kids up in straight rows and teach them to obey instructions.  This was an investment in our economic future.  The desired outcome back then, was to trade short term child labor wages for longer term productivity by giving kids a head start in doing what they are told.

The Takeaway…

Over the years, the process [curriculum & teachers] hasn’t changed much.  The desired outcome still appears to be the same.  The jobs back then were factory workers – this process made sense – we created people educated to be factory workers.

Today, we aren’t just looking for factory workers.  A small percentage of graduates will work in factories.  A larger number of workers will be information workers and so on.  So, what is a successful outcome in 2012? 

Are we looking for aware, caring, committed, creative, goal-setting, honest, improvising, incisive, independent, informed, initiating, innovating, insightful, leading, strategic, supportive workers OR obedient workers?

I have suggested to my teacher friends that it is time to revamp schools – not tweak what they are doing, but start with a blank sheet of paper.  A good place to start would be with the definition of a successful outcome and then work from there.

I really hope the right people take this book seriously and work to improve education in theUnited States– our educational system needs it.

Your Thoughts…

You may not have ever given this any thought before, how does it strike you now?

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