I took some time this evening to read Seth Godin’s Manifesto, “Stop Stealing Dreams” on the state of Education today. His killer question repeated throughout is: What is School For? He attacks this question with case studies, concrete ideas for change, a history of our school system, as well as opinions on the future of higher ed.
His encouragement is to focus on building a generation of creative and motivated leaders.
This is a great read for any teacher, administrator and parent, anyone directly or indirectly involved with the educational journey of children. While it is not the most cohesive document, as even Seth admits, it is easy to skim and scan for inspiring ideas and questions to ponder. Take this one, for example:
Just wondering: what would happen to our culture if students spent 40 percent of their time pursuing interesting discoveries and exciting growth opportunities, and only 60 percent of the day absorbing facts that used to be important to know. (#114)
Even as a homeschool teacher who believes in this, it is great to be reminded where to focus our priorities. Of course, I want my children to be involved in interesting, hands-on, personally relevant discoveries. That’s what “sticks” and what leads to true learning and growth.
And I just love Seth’s ending:
When we teach a child to love to learn, the amount of learning becomes limitless. When we teach a child to deal with a changing world, she will never become obsolete. And when we give students the desire to make things, even choices, we create a world filled with makers. (#132)
Makers, producers, creators, artists. That’s where the future lies for our children. They only become that by being allowed to do those things now – often.
Share and Dialogue
One of the unique things about this manifesto was the manner in which is was delivered – free and in all variety of media. Seth Godin was more concerned with the dialogue around his ideas and the prospect of influence and real change rather than in selling books. This was made to be shared, dissected, critiqued, re-written even. It’s genius, and a potential representation of the future of the real opportunities of digital content.
In that vein, I would invite you all to read it yourselves and add a comment below on any ideas you found helpful or debatable.