Godin’s presents really interesting ideas to consider, when evaluating the purpose of school. He starts his talk posing the question “What is school for?” and asserts that we are not asking or answering this question, in American schools today. Godin explored some of the history regarding the intended purpose of education, and shares reasons we need to move away from these outdated practices. Godin describes that upon its initial invention, school was meant to teach obedience, and because of industrialism; school was meant to train people to “behave,” “comply,” and “work in the factory.” Now, over a hundred years later, having moved well out of the industrial age, it is more than ever, a good time to ask why we are still promoting industrialization ideals in our education systems. I agree with Godin as I can make connections to some of the industrialization principles still present in our education systems. For instance, our students still ask questions like “is this going to be on the test? How do I get more points?” etc. These sort of questions show prevalence of the industrial revolution goals, because they show students aren’t interested in the actual content they are learning about or passionate towards their classes, but instead looking for ways to fit in with the system, or get by with the correct answers, according to the teacher of course. I hear these types of questions a lot in my own classroom as my students frequently ask about points and grades, and these are questions I work to erase.
I am working to undo this thinking process in my classroom through the different types of in class projects I have my students work on. I agree strongly with Godin’s notion that “when given work, people do less of it,” but when “given art,” people will usually want to do more. I try to find a lot of ways to creatively present to students, their learning tasks. For instance, one of the main standards we have to teach students in an 11th grade English classroom is to use textual evidence to support claims. This task can be stale and boring to students as they do not always understand why or how they would ever use these skills in their futures. I understand the students’ frustrations. I can not honestly tell students that they will ever pick up Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” again, and pull quotes from it to make an argument. But what I do know, is that our students today are growing up in a highly technological age, where using technology is becoming more prevalent in both everyday life and in future careers. Therefore, I can say that I think my students need to have technological skills and the ability to explore creativity as many jobs today seek employers with creative and innovative skills.
Therefore, to both teach mandated standards and expose my students to technology skills, I am currently having students skip a unit final/unit writing exam, when we are finished with our text “The Crucible.” Instead, I am having students create, on their chromebooks, padlet (virtual billboard) using evidence from the text, to explore human sins. The padlet allows students to upload their own drawings, use visuals from the internet, and explore their arguments in creative ways. In previous essays I had my students complete, I noticed their work revealed they were trying “to do the least work possible,” because of the lack of passion or any interest they had for the essay. I am hoping this padlet final will spark some passion in my students as they will get to tap into their artistic sides and create something that they find meaning or joy in.
TEDx Youth. "STOP STEALING DREAMS: Seth Godin at TEDxYouth@BFS." YouTube. YouTube, 16 Oct. 2012. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.