In considering what might be ‘new school’, I’m thinking of so many apparent contradictions. Can we individualize the mass delivery of an institutional system, for instance? Can we put process around imagination, which feels like the straight lines and corners of swing music forced onto experimental jazz?
Not everything has to be a process. Everyone has their own way of learning something new, and experiencing, and experimenting. That has not been incorporated in the education system. Just look at the way we learn. We memorize, we standardize. Without change, we are making a pretty uninspired herd.
What do you wish education could do, compared to what education is right now?
We need to let kids self-direct more of their own educational experiences. In my work with Beyond, I’ve spoken to so many kids… they soak up our definition of an acceptable path, an acceptable life. I wish we could break out of the linear mindset, bring real-life context to the education system, and let students shape and direct their own experiences. I wish we could make kids not only believe they can change the world, but give them the means to do so. And we can’t do that if we’re locked into A + B = C.
Attitude shapes more than degrees. We need kids with more grit. We need to demand more of our kids than A+ grades. We need to empower a new generation of teachers and parents who are also hungry for change. We need them to own a brighter future, together.
What’s the opposite of a sheep?
Successful organizations need to embrace a diversity of all skills, culture and capacity. But to build for the dynamic forces that business has to deal with, we need more people who are adept at designing ideas and solutions. Ultimately, the opposite of a sheep is a Lego kid. One who makes the kit, perhaps, but then pulls it all apart and starts riffing.
What can we do to make sure that Lego kids take that spirit into adulthood?
There’s an epiphany moment that every innovative person has—it’s when you’re a young adult, and you decide you want more than a lifetime spent protecting established beige cube farms. That kind of discontent is a precious and holy moment. We need to hold it up as the transformative pivot that it is. The first step is to scale the imaginative leaders so that discontented imaginative kids can see ahead and chase that carrot of what’s possible. They need models.