I woke up this morning with thoughts from Seth Godin’s manifesto “Stop Stealing Dreams (What Is School For)” on my mind. A random comment about dreamers and schools made me want to revisit the manifesto (a highly recommended read which will invite a reaction on your part). I was so excited about this manifesto when I first read it that I brought it to our Superintendent, saying “you have to read this right now!” Although folks most likely won’t agree with everything that Godin has to say, it could be a great conversation starter with educators and non-educators alike. For example:
Regarding libraries: “They (students) need a librarian more than ever (to figure out creative ways to find and use data). They need a library not at all.”
Regarding dreamers: “Dreamers in school are dangerous. Dreamers can be impatient, unwilling to become well-rounded, and most of all, hard to fit into existing systems.”
Regarding teaching reading: “We invest thousands of hours exposing millions of students to fiction and literature, but end up training most of them to never again read for fun.”
Regarding teaching: “And just as important, it’s vital we acknowledge that we can unteach bravery and creativity and initiative. And that we have been doing just that.”
How to change school? Here are some of Godin’s ideas:
- Homework during the day, lectures at night
- Open book, open note, all the time
- Access to any course, anywhere in the world
- The end of multiple-choice exams
- Cooperation instead of isolation
- Death of the nearly famous college
Cause a reaction? It should. We don’t have time to waste in bringing our kids up to speed. It’s true that you can find anything you need to learn, for free, on the internet. If nothing else, this should scare the pants off us. Kids are already way ahead of us in technology, when they realize they don’t need us to get what they want to learn, watch out. We’re actually right there, right now.
So, my dream before breakfast, is that you download this free manifesto, and take the ideas that shock, and the ideas that motivate and discuss them with your fellow educators. Think of all the experience you have in your buildings and districts and build something great for learners of every kind!