Saturday, February 27, 2010

So long to the manufacturing line...

Dan Pink says it best: "There's a disconnect between how we prepare kids for work and how work actually operates: In school, problems almost always are clearly defined, confined to a single discipline, and have one right answer. But in the workplace, they're practically the opposite. Problems are usually poorly defined, multi-disciplinary, and have several possible answers, none of them perfect."
I have been brewing about his interview about his new book Drive and what he calls "motivation 3.0" in Scholastic Administrators' last edition for the past week or so.  What he talks about seems so simple in the light of today's world and student.  I enjoy his "human" perspective and how he relates the idea to the curious and self-directed play and exploration of a toddler.  He sets forth three main components of creating better outcomes-- self-direction, mastery, and purpose.  To me, this seems like a great road map for getting the most out of our students, and using strategies such as project-based learning and technology tools and resources would definitely aid in the journey.  What is disturbing, that we all know and Dan Pink points out, is that we have a push to implement more creativity and innovation in our classrooms, but at the same time, we are forcing regimentation as students and teachers are tied to standardized testing.
This dichotomy is creating the problem that introduced this post.  We are not properly preparing our students for the world in which they will work.  Very little work now relies on the factory model, but our education system still does.  Advances have been made, small steps along the journey-- but our students are leaving us in the dust, and entering the world unprepared for what awaits them.
Am I just wanting too much, too soon, too fast? Change is hard and challenging, especially in education-- reform takes time, and with so many educator's jaded by the pendulum swing, many are unwilling to try another way that they perceive as another fad that will eventually fade away.  This is too important to fade, and I wonder who will be left its aftermath-- the teachers or the students?

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