Change or die

Will Richardson talks about the needs of schools in general, to "Change or Die." He writes,

But one thing that struck us over the weekend was the lead headline in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal: "How U.S. Auto Industry Finds Itself Stalled by Its Own History." And there was a great subhead: "A Need to Change or Die" The article talks about how GM and Ford are struggling in most every aspect of business as they "grapple with past practices." Here are two icons of the industrial era who are staring reinvention or expiration in the face.

Obviously, the leap to education here isn't a big one. Imagine this headline instead: "How U.S. Education Finds Itself Stalled by Its Own History." Here we are, faced with all sorts of new challenges, stuck in a system that seem unable or unwilling to change. We've mastered this assembly line method of teaching, programming all of our students in basically the same way throughout their time in school because that was the easiest way to do it. We didn't have unlimited information or content or ideas, so we created a curriculum that suited the needs of the day. Problem is, life outside the classroom has become drastically different. Life inside hasn't very much.

This is fascinating for me because it shows how filters work in how we support our positions. Schulman, for example, who decries the re-invention of education schools and says they should emulate siblings like business schools, left out this notion that businesses were facing "reinvention or expiration." Actually, "re-engineer" was a buzz word in business just a few years back.

Will wants schools to just feed the students "knowledge," which to me sounds like the old assembly line model, although it need not be. Still, the knowledge taught in schools is often different from the knowledge needed outside schools to the point that it is seen by students as irrelevant. By "contextualizing" knowledge in the real world, it may become relevant, perhaps even useful.

I wonder how we can remove our filters.