A recipe for improving schools?

A recipe for improving schools?

In my latest string of blogs, I’ve been mulling over the current state of affairs affecting education.

The lack of funding, lack of creativity, and lack of commitment by key stakeholder groups seems to be leaving education in a precarious, rudderless drift: educators afraid to make changes that won’t help them raise their standardized test performance, afraid to commit to changes that they don’t know how they’ll pay for, afraid to take more heat than they are already – often unjustly – getting.

In doing research, I once found that while employers might not give much credence to student activities such as student government, class projects, etc., they did believe two activities DID help to prepare good employees: Newspaper and Athletics.

Why? Because deadlines are deadlines – and reporters keenly understand that.  They understand that while they are the AUTHOR, there’s a whole bunch of people who make the delivery of news happen. They undertand fact checking. They understand bias and comparing information. They are masters of research and information.

Atheletes understand that they are part of a team. They understand process. Practice. Sometimes you get benched. Sometimes you foul out. Suck it up, keep your emotions to yourself, take your lumps and learn from it.  They understand competition and good sportsmanship.

If such key employment skills can be gleaned from such activities…. then could some principles not be appied here?  Could experiences be created to not only foster soft skills development, but also reinforce educational learning?

Of course they can: it’s not a new educational theory… experiential education. The concept of “learning by doing” has been around since the dawn of time. But somewhere we lost our direction – seeking simplicity in having studets sitting in desks and learning theories and repeating after the teacher, as opposed to getting their hands dirty and running the risk of mucking things up.

If so many entrepreneurs and business leaders are right, and that we learn the most from our failures…. then isn’t allowing students to build something, and let it fail and then learn how to fix it…. could this be better built into experiences that students can grow from?

Category: Creativity, Organizational Management

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