Sunday, May 30, 2010

In the thrall of old ideas

This TED Talk by Sir Ken Robinson on changing education to better suit the needs of today struck me because of its relevance to the thread of intrinsic motivation and discovering what each of our "things" are: what is my superpower?

The key ideas that I took away were:
  • Dis-enthrallment: Recognizing the assumptions that we do not question and questioning them.
  • Linear vs Organic processes: Go through education in this order ("University begins in Kindergarten") and you are set for life vs. organizing to meet the need for diversity in type and timing of talent.
  • Conformity vs Uniqueness:  Fast food (McDonalds) vs customized food (Zagats and Michelin Star rated restaurants) and the "value" associated with each.
  • The need to move from a mfg / industrial based model of education to one based on agriculture - "Human flourishing is not a mechanical process but an organic process.... [Like farmers, the goal is to] create the conditions under which they [students] will begin to flourish."
As the limits of the "old" economic model become clearer, the limits of the assumptions on which that model is based also become clearer.
I don't know what the "new" rules are or what they will become.
I do know that as the various systems in which we live crash and stumble towards a new (if temporary) equilibrium, dealing with this kind of chaotic rearrangement will require more flexibility than the old system allows.
Ideas like these speak some truth for me in dealing with the new condition.