Saturday, February 12, 2011

School for robots.


What every entrepreneur must learn is to think differently. And the act of thinking separate from the masses is becoming increasingly difficult. Why? Because conventional education seems to me, to be  destroying creativity. We go to school to learn math, english, sciences. We are discouraged from making mistakes (which is the greatest way to learn, through experimentation) From mistakes we learn valuable lessons. School starts to un-learn our creativity, starts to drill in conformity. We can see this from the questions students ask, of which I’m guilty for “will it be on the test?”. “It’s not”, well I can forget about it if I want good grades, I’m better off to focus on the stuff the teacher is teaching.  We are all creative as children, yet somewhere along the way some of us lose it. As we know now, emotional intelligence (EI) (personable skills) is more of an indicator of success than pure grades. How come our schools are not experimenting with new ways to educate, not focusing on EI as much as IQ?

We are told from a very young age to study, specialize and success will follow. I think that may of been true at one point, but now there are more and more graduates for less and less positions everyday and the problem is these graduates are not flexible. From a very early age we expect what is being taught to us is everything, we don’t learn to ask the right questions. This means our learning is predicated on the quality of the teacher.

The curriculum is rigid, defined, and students are not encouraged to think as much for themselves as I would like to see. Yes they are encouraged to think within the boundaries of what they are learning, but it would be interesting to see students be encouraged to develop their own theories (the only class I’ve seen this take place is philosophy). To take concepts from something they have learned in anthropology and connect it to business. To study art as aggressively as the sciences. We are not encouraging our students to study; poetry, photography, sociology. Instead, we encourage them to specialize, to choose to study something, otherwise how will you survive? We’re taught “Get in and out of school in the quickest time possible.”

The quote below is one of my favourites and inspired the title of the post.

“You must adjust... This is the legend imprinted in every schoolbook, the invisible message on every blackboard. Our schools have become vast factories for the manufacture of robots.” - Robert M. Linder

Learning is forever, learning doesn’t stop after school.  For that reason I want elementary schools and secondary schools to help students harness their curiosity and creativity. Elements that will hopefully encourage students to vary their interests, learn to connect ideas, because reality is not as cut and paste as many conventional class-rooms.

What sings to my entrepreneurial spirit is knowing that I will be constantly learning. No day will be the same, everyday uncertainty awaits, and everyday I will need to adapt to a new problem.

On that note, stay tuned. There’s a post-secondary school who is revolutionizing the way schooling is done –a true pioneer. I will be talking about them in two weeks time.