Like many others, I am a fan of Seth Godin's work and I thought this was an interesting blog post. It intrigued me because as a coach, I often seem to be faced with "undoing" the mindset of the mundane set up by many of our learning institutions. You know – the mindset that rewards you for being "just like" everyone else. The one that tells you what you can't do, what you can't be or what you shouldn't be (too confident, too out-on-the-edge, too good, etc). So when I saw this post, it provoked me to think, "Hmmmm, just what IS school for?" What do you think?
Seems like a simple question, but given how much time and money we spend on it, it has a wide range of answers, many unexplored, some contradictory. I have a few thoughts about education, how we use it to market ourselves and compete, and I realized that without a common place to start, it's hard to figure out what to do.
So, a starter list. The purpose of school is to:
- Become an informed citizen
- Be able to read for pleasure
- Be trained in the rudimentary skills necessary for employment
- Do well on standardized tests
- Homogenize society, at least a bit
- Pasteurize out the dangerous ideas
- Give kids something to do while parents work
- Teach future citizens how to conform
- Teach future consumers how to desire
- Build a social fabric
- Create leaders who help us compete on a world stage
- Generate future scientists who will advance medicine and technology
- Learn for the sake of learning
- Help people become interesting and productive
- Defang the proletariat
- Establish a floor below which a typical person is unlikely to fall
- Find and celebrate prodigies, geniuses and the gifted
- Make sure kids learn to exercise, eat right and avoid common health problems
- Teach future citizens to obey authority
- Teach future employees to do the same
- Increase appreciation for art and culture
- Teach creativity and problem solving
- Minimize public spelling mistakes
- Increase emotional intelligence
- Decrease crime by teaching civics and ethics
- Increase understanding of a life well lived
- Make sure the sports teams have enough players
You were born to be great.
YES, you can!