I have been listening to a lot of podcasts lately. I really did not realize just how much excellent learning could be had from this type of media but there is so much. While my wife and I were traveling in West Texas we were on short supply of radio stations so we brought up the podcasts on the phone. We came across this one The Meaning of Work – TED Hour Podcast -- You should give it a listen and see what you think.
As a public school principal I am always reading and listening to what the business industry says they need in their employees since we are educating the future. I am always looking to see how we can better engage students and teachers in the learning process. This podcast started me thinking about the role that we, as school systems, play in the problem being discussed in “The Meaning of Work” podcast. I decided to watch the TED Talk that inspired this podcast.
Take about 15 minutes to watch it and see what you think.
The research of the regular chickens and the super chickens is humorous at first but as Margaret continues to tell the story and then continues on about her work, experiences, and thinking related to the research there was less humor for me.
Think back to your childhood. Most of us are told all our lives we have to compete. Often is begins at home and it continues in school. We have to be better than the students next to us. Parents and schools place us in competition with each other over class rank, GPA, Top 10%, etc. We are ranked, ordered, and classified based off how we perform on tests. We have to beat everyone in everything that we do.
Now, please know that I think competition is a good thing and there is not anything wrong with healthy competition. When we compete to push ourselves, work hard for achievement, and learn from the results of our competition, we grow.
Is the high stakes environment we have created in schools really going to promote growth? Is ranking and ordering students from best to worst the best answer to how to solve the world’s issues and problems? Is this the type of healthy competition that promotes real growth in students? Not according to Margaret Heffernan.
Social capital and social connectedness is the key to success in the world. Have you ever heard the saying that is it is not what you know as much as who you know? Why do you think that is true? Margaret discusses how companies are redesigning their structures to place the emphasis on collaboration and teamwork. Shouldn’t we do the same in schools?
Are we really in the business of creating “super chickens” that will end up pecking each other to death? Shouldn’t we focus more on the teamwork and collaboration and teach students how to work together to achieve success? That seems to be the way business is moving. If we do not teach children to work together and to collaborate effectively then why do we think they will be able to do so as adults?
Think. Achieve. Succeed.
Director of Instruction and Leadership Development
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are
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