Education Factories

Seth Godin School

Yes, it is back to school season. But Seth Godin’s incisive plea for such restructuring of education suggests that it may be ‘Back to (the wrong) school’ season.

Education factories fill Office Worker factories. Part of many Dynamic Work transformations includes a range of re-skilling and education around new tools, new ways of working, new ways of communicating. But as the world moves inexorably to Dynamic Working (and those not so moving get left behind at their peril), we can start the readiness much earlier. Back in school, for example.

“Part of the rationale to sell this major transformation to industrialists was that educated kids would actually become more compliant and productive workers. Our current system of teaching kids to sit in straight rows and obey instructions isn't a coincidence–it was an investment in our economic future. The plan: trade short-term child labor wages for longer-term productivity by giving kids a head start in doing what they're told… Do you see the disconnect here? Every year, we churn out millions of of worker who are trained to do 1925 labor… As long as we embrace (or even accept) standardized testing, fear of science, little attempt at teaching leadership and most of all, the bureaucratic imperative to turn education into a factory itself, we’re in big trouble.”

Dynamic Classroom

Diana Laufenberg - How to learn From mistakes

Dynamic Work can start in the Dynamic Classroom.

This is ‘Back to School’ season and I have done a few pieces in one of my other blogs (‘Leadership and Management / Turning Adversity to Advantage’) on the timely subject. Both pieces feature endorsements of ‘dynamic work’ applied to the classroom.

Diane Laufenberg’s TED talk explored new modes of flexible learning and complemented, as with Dynamic Work, with the latest technology like laptops which could go between home and class…

“I moved there primarily to be part of a learning environment that validated the way that I knew that kids learned, and that really wanted to investigate what was possible when you are willing to let go of some of the paradigms of the past, of information scarcity when my grandmother was in school and when my father was in school and even when I was in school, and to a moment when we have information surplus. So what do you do when the information is all around you? Why do you have kids come to school if they no longer have to come there to get the information?”

FailureMag’s piece on ‘Geeks’ proposed unconventional furnishing to areas like the cafeteria to promote intermingling and the breakdown of destructive cliques (‘Dynamic Lunch’!)…

“One of the easiest things a school can do is to change the cafeteria seating so that there are a varying number of chairs at each table to accommodate groups of different sizes. And schools can set out a handful of loose chairs so that floaters—kids who don’t belong to any single group—can go from table to table and don’t have to feel they have to choose one group and stay there.”