Sunday, January 8, 2012

What should our schools produce?

About a week ago, I had lunch with a good friend, a childhood friend, who now lives as a successful financial banker in New York City. As we talked over a burger and fries, like a lot of friends who play "catch up," our conversation lead to a discussion of family, old friends, and old stories. In addition, we also spoke of his close proximity to the Occupy Wall Street movement (for which he witnesses each and every day due to where he resides and what he does for a living). However, one of the most intriguing parts of our conversation came when I asked him the following question, "as a successful banker, what is it you look for when hiring and leading prospective and future bankers? In other words, what should public schools be doing to send you quality workers?" I thought his answer was intriguing. According to my dear friend, public schools need to produce students/graduates who are curious to learn, good at problem solving ferociously going about solving problems, unfocused on rote memorization, excited about learning, and given the opportunity in school to explore what they are interested in. He went on to say ALL of THIS encourages the student to be curious and seek a solution to the problems of life. Spoken like a true constructivist, he went on to reflect on his own upbringing in public schools. He felt like he was given little opportunity to dive into things that interest him, to think on his own, and to explore what he thought was curious. I went to the same schools as my friend and my recollection is very similar. As an educator now, I seek to change education by focusing less on standardization and a focus on memorizing facts and instead a focus on what our business leaders are looking for... Problem solvers, creators, curious individuals who are ready to take on the future. Will you join me? #edudream

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