Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Most Likely to Succeed

Sharing a few highlights from Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids For the Innovation Era by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith.  



It’s quite striking that, almost without exception, the great contributors to civilization were educated as apprentices, not as note-takers

In short, the United States picked the wrong goal and failed at it. We opted to chase South Korea and Singapore on standardized test performance (a race we never had a chance of winning against children who spend every waking hour cramming for the tests) instead of educating our youth for a world of innovation and opportunity (a race that plays to our strengths)

Albert Einstein, who had his share of struggles with school, said, “The formulation of a problem is often more essential than its solution.” As administrators, faculty, boards, and parents debate strategic goals,In short, the United States picked the wrong goal and failed at it. We opted to chase South Korea and Singapore on standardized test performance (a race we never had a chance of winning against children who spend every waking hour cramming for the tests) instead of educating our youth for a world of innovation and opportunity (a race that plays to our strengths) they generally dive into issues around the importance of the goals listed in Question 1 above and the precise wording of their mission statement. In so doing, they skip over a more fundamental step in the process: Is our teaching approach one that actually helps our students to learn

Even better, imagine if the school looked for skills where a student could achieve excellence, and then set out on a path to create definitive life advantages for that student applicable across a broad range of careers
two of the most important skills in the innovation economy are in thinking critically (about problems, situations, markets, ideas) and then the ability to communicate (an idea, a recommendation, a plan forward) in a way that is not only thoughtful and compelling but also in a way that influences others to take action

Today, when kids have ready access to an enormous range of written material, we should encourage them to become great readers by devouring everything they can that’s aligned with their passion—whether it’s nature, sports, or Harry Potter. But if you’re designing tests, there’s no way to standardize based on students reading mostly what interests them. Once again, the education model revolves around what makes life easy for test designers, not what’s best for kids

“The key to our philosophy is to speak, and speak, and speak some more. Programs and curricula that emphasize speaking and ‘living’ the culture from the get go can create a genuine learning atmosphere (using a variety of techniques) that will acclimate students and generate a feeling of ‘being there.

Annmarie Neal is the former chief talent officer at Cisco Systems and author of Leading From the Edge. She continues to consult to senior leadership in Fortune 100 companies all over the world, and here’s what she told us in a recent conversation: Even the most elite schools do not prepare students for the reality of work as it is today, let alone what it will become in the future. Most large organizations are undergoing massive transformations as they move from industrial to innovation-economy business models. The students that thrive within today’s education systems are achievement driven, rule-oriented, compliant, linear, singular in focus (i.e., a business or engineering major). The world of work today requires future leaders to be relationship or collaboration driven, rule-defining, creative and innovative, lateral and polymathic in focus

We need to reimagine education. We have to put ourselves in the shoes of the Committee of Ten who, back in 1893, said, “Gee, we need to train millions of kids for a growing number of rote jobs in our burgeoning industrial economy.” The Committee of Ten came up with a good solution for their era. Today, we need to educate millions of kids (and adults) for the innovation era. How do we do that?