Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fisch Food For Thought: It's Your Future

I read these two articles and immediately thought of our discussion (err, my ranting) in class today. I think it's worth your time to read these two articles. Read the entire articles, but here are some blurbs to whet your appetite.

Economists See More Jobs for Machines, Not People
Faster, cheaper computers and increasingly clever software, the authors say, are giving machines capabilities that were once thought to be distinctively human, like understanding speech, translating from one language to another and recognizing patterns. So automation is rapidly moving beyond factories to jobs in call centers, marketing and sales — parts of the services sector, which provides most jobs in the economy.
. . . Yet computers, the authors say, tend to be narrow and literal-minded, good at assigned tasks but at a loss when a solution requires intuition and creativity — human traits. A partnership, they assert, is the path to job creation in the future.

Will Dropouts Save America?
Start-ups are a creative endeavor by definition. Yet our current classrooms, geared toward tests on narrowly defined academic subjects, stifle creativity. If a young person happens to retain enough creative spirit to start a business upon graduation, she does so in spite of her schooling, not because of it.

Finally, entrepreneurs must embrace failure. I spent the last two years interviewing college dropouts who went on to become millionaires and billionaires. All spoke passionately about the importance of their business failures in leading them to success. Our education system encourages students to play it safe and retreat at the first sign of failure (assuming that any failure will look bad on their college applications and résumés).
How does this relate to what I ranted about in class today? It's your future, and business as usual (or, in your case, school as usual) isn't going to cut it. You're going to have to be creative, to be risk-takers, to look for the underlying connections and strive for true understanding, not just "complete assignments" and "get the points."
You're going to have to be creative, risk-taking learners.
What does that mean in terms of our Algebra class? It means you've got to step up, you've got to take charge of your own learning. You have to care enough to try to learn not just the formulas and the algebraic manipulations, but the underlying meaning. You have to approach each topic and each assignment, each activity in class and each activity outside of class, with an attitude of, "I'm going to learn the most I can from this."
You're going to have to be self-directed learners.
Now, I want to be clear, here. I'm not suggesting you "drop out," or that what you're learning here at AHS isn't meaningful. You need this "content" as the basis of your knowledge, but you have to go beyond that to be part of the "creative class" that is most likely to be successful (economically,  personally, and as a citizen) in the future. You've got to give it some effort.
You're going to have to be passionate learners.
If you just sit back and let education, let school, "happen" to you, then I fear for your future. But if you go out and, day in and day out, go after your own education; if you truly adopt a learning mindset, not a "school mindset," you're going to be great.

It's your future. Which is it going to be?

1 comment:

  1. Karl this an awesome post. I see young children enter our school systems with an enthusiastic rigour for learning, questioning, creating, discussing, probing, exploring, and being an active learner; only to be quietened, moulded and conditioned to the limitations and low expectations of our school systems. This status quo urgently needs to be not only challenged and changed, but it needs to be history. The future is here now, and our children and their futures deserve and demand so much more! There are many learning leaders (my preferred term for like minded educators) which are like you encouraging, persuading, prompting and provoking students to be creative, risk taking, self-directed and passionate learners. Students, like our learning leaders, need to be brave, take the risk, reach out and grab their education and manipulate it to meet their individual learning needs. Keep your passion alive Karl! Share it with us and your students constantly and we will then be well on the pathway to see the change we are trying to be. :)