Thomas Friedman today in the Times:
There’s a huge undertow of worry out in the country about how our kids are being educated and whether they’ll be able to find jobs in an increasingly flat world, where more Chinese, Indians and Russians than ever can connect, collaborate and compete with us.
One answer, he writes, is to learn how to learn.
Being really good at “learning how to learn,” as President Bill Brody of Johns Hopkins put it, will be an enormous asset in an era of rapid change and innovation, when new jobs will be phased in and old ones phased out faster than ever.
So how do we do that, teach kids to love learning? How do we nurture “fearless learners” as Alan November refers to them? I’ve been down this road a lot lately…the kids I see are not learning to learn as much as they are learning to get through. They’re gaming the system more than developing an appreciation for learning. And, they’re generally bored with the process.
Friedman suggests that students find the best teachers and take their courses whether they are interested in the subject or not. That’s fine for college, but not as easy in high school. Students have very little choice as to who their teachers will be. In fact, when we realized that our new scheduling program had a feature that allowed students to enter teacher preferences, it was one of the first things we switched off. Just not going to happen.
So what are the other answers? Where do our students show a passion for learning? Where are kids finding their own teachers? And where do WE find the best teachers? I’m going to bet that most bloggers who stick with it do so because they are fearless learners. We want to know more, push our thinking, exchange ideas. We have found teachers that inspire us and move us with their own intelligence or creativity or sense of possibility, and they teach us daily.
But how do we make that happen for our students?