Monday, March 12, 2012

Making It Impossible To Steal Dreams

I just finished my first reading of Seth Godin's new free eBook, Stop Stealing Dreams.  After my first reading, I decided to read it again, take more notes, and highlight more passages.

Here are a few of my thoughts after my initial reading.

  • Students are probably NOT dreaming about how school helps them prepare for the future when they are not in school.  These dreams are more likely to occur in classes that either put students to sleep or are so unclear about their relevance that students begin daydreaming.
  • Dreams become reality when we take action to make them come true.  This is applicable to teachers, schools, students, and parents.  Anyone can act on their dreams (it isn't dependent on someone else).
  • Many teachers want to provide what students need, but when teacher education hasn't caught up to those needs, teaches are left to make their best guess which, if not effective, can give the appearance of helplessness.
  • Some schools do content, facts, and tests well.  Some schools do problem based, experiential learning well.  Most rare are the schools that do both well.
  • The answer may not be to change the system completely.  It may be to add an additional system that balances and compliments the other for schools that cannot do both well enough. Maybe a Bicameral System of Education - one "house" based on content, facts, and testing, the other "house" set up for problem based, experiential, social learning (I am currently working on a post with more details about this idea).
  • If the current system was set up to feed the economy and produce obedient factory workers for the industrial age, is it hypocritical to suggest we change the system to feed the "new" post-industrial age economy?  I guess I'm asking if it is any better to want schools to develop students with the necessary skills to fuel the current economy than it is to criticize them for doing basically the same thing for the "older" economy?  I'm just asking...
I have been a big follower of Seth's work for some time.  I applaud his new work as a bold statement about the state of the education system in the US.  As with everything from Seth that I have read, Stop Stealing Dreams, at a few points, made me a little uncomfortable.  That is one of the most important reasons why I read Seth's work and recommend this, and all his books, to others.

Remember, stealing dreams is impossible when students can't dream in your class because they are too busy doing relevant and meaningful work that prepares them for THEIR future (not our past).

Everything else induces sleep, which is when the dreaming begins - not a good strategy for effective teaching, unless your goal is to steal dreams.  
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