My Take on What Smart Students Say They Want From School

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They say it’s always good to listen to your users.

So I read this list with interest: how today’s “smartest” teens (those who attended a camp at Singularity University) would change education.

Clearly, these teens are not representative of all their peers, but anyways…. here’s their list (at least as described by the writer):

  1. Increase personalization.
  2. Increase project based learning + real world interaction.
  3. Decrease testing.
  4. Decrease solitary online learning.
  5. Increase teacher coaching, decrease teacher lecturing.
  6. Increase teaching of practical skills.
  7. Increase internalization of growth mindset.

Some reflections:

1) The students want school to be less boring:I surely sympathize with them. School can be very boring, and increase personalization, projects, and practical skill acquisition – as well as decreasing lecturing – probably would make school less boring.

2) The students deemphasize content mastery: The students expressed a greater eagerness to do than they did to master content.  Moreover, their skepticism over testing can also be read as a skepticism of needing to be held accountable for knowledge acquisition. Some of my greatest mistakes have come from when I acted without expert knowledge. You can’t become a content expert by spending ten minutes googling something. To think you can could end up being the next generation’s greatest mistake.

3) The students are pragmatic: It was interesting to hear less about major social issues (racism, poverty, etc.) and more about learning practical skills such as money management and working in teams. It’s unclear to me what to make of this.

Much to consider.

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