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Posts Tagged ‘seth

I managed to consume a little bit of Seth Godin’s manifesto on education on my flight between Adelaide and Sydney earlier this week.

I got to the part on “What is school for?” when a flight attendant told me to put my iPhone away even though it was in flight mode.

Godin proposed four purposes of schooling and one was “to further science and knowledge and pursue information for its own sake”. On this he had this critique of schooling:

We spend a fortune teaching trigonometry to kids who don’t understand it, won’t use it, and will spend no more of their lives studying math. We invest thousands of hours exposing millions of students to fiction and literature, but end up training most of them to never again read for fun (one study found that 58 percent of all Americans never read for pleasure after they graduate from school). As soon as we associate reading a book with taking a test, we’ve missed the point.

That is school based on the factory model. It is also something I like to call just-in-case (JIC) schooling. Contrast this with living in the information and interaction age and just-in-time (JIT) learning.

I think that we do need a bit of just-in-case schooling so that we have the building blocks of language and mathematics. But the rest should really be about letting learners build. It is about achieving a better balance (which is now still heavily tilted in the favour of JIC).

If we did have that balance, perhaps we would have flight attendants who were trained more than a decade ago via JIC who learn JIT about studies that show the effect of personal electronics on planes and the purpose of flight mode on such devices.

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