A while back, I posted about Seth Godin’s manifesto “Stop Stealing Dreams“. A few people read the post, a couple more clicked the links to the copy of his work and I’d hazard a guess that many saw the length of it and skim read some of it. I urge you to go back and read again. The kids in your life deserve it. You deserve it. It will be one of the best, most inspiring readings on education and the world of possibilites in front of us that you will have read in a while. If you really don’t have the time, let me share with you a few of my favorite gems – a little amuse bouche if you will to whet your appetite for more. The numbers refer to the section of the manifesto from which the text has been pulled. All work below is straight from Seth’s pen (or keyboard):
122.Some courses I’d like to see taught in school
- How old is the Earth?
- What’s the right price to pay for this car?
- How to do something no one has ever done before
- Design and build a small house
- Advanced software interface design
114.Let’s do something interesting
Every once in a while, between third grade and the end of high school, a teacher offers the class a chance to do something interesting, new, off topic, exciting, risky, and even thrilling. I’d venture it’s about 2 percent of the hours the student is actually in school. The rest of the time is reserved for absorbing the curriculum, for learning what’s on the test.Just wondering: what would happen to our culture if students spent 40 percent of their time pursuing interesting discoveries and exciting growth opportunities, and only 60 percent of the day absorbing facts that used to be important to know?
When we let our kids dream, encourage them to contribute, and push them to do work that matters, we open doors for them that will lead to places that are difficult for us to imagine. When we turn school into more than just a finishing school for a factory job, we enable a new generation to achieve things that we were ill-prepared for.
My class is in the middle of the fifth grade Exhibition. They are choosing their own path for this unit. They each have been asked to identify their passion and pursue it with abandon. Reality – there is a lot of nervousness in the room! But there is also the beginnings of the understanding that this really is about them. Their dreams, their passion, their chance to “do something interesting, new, off topic, exciting, risky, and even thrilling.” Tomorrow, one of my kids is sitting down with a published author to find out what it takes to ‘make it’ in the world of books and writing. Another is going to take a flight in a twin engine plane to learn more about aviation and airplanes. Two more have put together an after school activity where fashion meets soccer. Do I know exactly what each kid is doing? No. Are they engaged, focused, organized and committed? YES! Amazingly so. And I trust them. I trust that they are making good decisions. I trust they are using their time wisely. I trust that they are seizing the opportunity to pursue their passion. And I trust that they are loving it.
For those who are not quite there yet, here are some sage words from Seth: