Collection of Quotes Part 2 from Stop Stealing Dreams

So as not to overwhelm anyone with too long a post, I have divided my collection of quotes from Seth Godin’s Stop Stealing Dreams into two parts. I for one can only read so much at a time and would not want anyone to cut out from reading too early. So, here are the rest of the passages and quotes that I found thought-provoking.

Section 46: I am wondering when we decided that the purpose of school was to cram as much data/trivia/fact into every student as we possibly could.

We’re not only avoiding issues of practicality and projects and hands-on use of information; we’re also aggressively testing for trivia.

Section 47: Then, though, as we got smarter about the structure of thought, we created syllabi that actually covered the knowledge that mattered.

But mattered to whom?

Section 64: The industrial model of school is organized around exposing students to ever increasing amounts of stuff and then testing them on it.

Almost none of it is spent in teaching them the skills necessary to connect dots.

Section 65: The notion that each of us can assemble a network (of people, of data sources, of experiences) that will make us either smart or stupid—that’s brand new and important.

What is the typical school doing to teach our students to become good at this?

Section 70: What’s the point of testing someone’s ability to cram for a test if we’re never going to have to cram for anything ever again?

In an open-book/open-note environment, the ability to synthesize complex ideas and to invent new concepts is far more useful than drill and practice. It might be harder (at first) to write tests, and it might be harder to grade them, but the goal of school isn’t to make the educational-industrial complex easy to run; it’s to create a better generation of workers and citizens.

Section 71: Lectures at night, homework during the day

The next day at school, teachers can do what they want to do anyway—coach and help students in places they are stuck. In a school like this, the notion that every student will have to be in sync and watch the same (live!) lecture at the same time will become absurd.

Section 72: What we can’t do, though, is digitize passion. We can’t force the student to want to poke around and discover new insights online.

Without school to establish the foundation and push and pull and our students, the biggest digital library in the world is useless.

Section 73: When students can get patient, hands-on, step-by-step help in the work they’re doing, they learn more.

Section 74: The role of the teacher in this new setting is to inspire, to intervene, and to raise up the motivated but stuck student. Instead of punishing great teachers with precise instructions on how to spend their day, we give them the freedom to actually teach.

Section 77: The lesson to the kids is obvious: early advantages now lead to bigger advantages later. Skill now is rewarded, dreams, not so much. If you’re not already great, don’t bother showing up.

Section 82: School serves a real function when it activates a passion for lifelong learning, not when it establishes permanent boundaries for an elite class.

Section 83: Your work is worth more than mere congruence to an answer key

Fitting in is a short-term strategy, standing out pays off in the long run

Section 84: Teach kids how to lead

Help them learn how to solve interesting problems

as the world changes ever faster, we don’t reward people who can slavishly follow yesterday’s instructions. All of the value to the individual (and to the society she belongs to) goes to the individual who can draw a new map, who can solve a problem that didn’t even exist yesterday.

Section 85: once someone becomes passionate about a goal, she will stop at nothing to learn what she needs to learn to accomplish it.

Section 90: When we associate reading with homework and tests, is it any wonder we avoid it?

If you want to teach kids to love being smart, you must teach them to love to read.

Section 97: If the training we give people in public school or college is designed to help them memorize something that someone else could look up, it’s time wasted.

Section 100: real music education involves teaching students how to hear and how to perform from the heart

Section 101: Real learning happens when the student wants (insists!) on acquiring a skill in order to accomplish a goal.

Section 102: When access to information was limited, we needed to load students up with facts. Now, when we have no scarcity of facts or the access to them, we need to load them up with understanding.

Section 104: Real learning happens in bursts, and often those bursts occur in places or situations that are out of the ordinary.

Practice works because practice gives us a chance to relax enough to make smart choices.

Section 108: School as the transference of emotion and culture

One thing a student can’t possibly learn from a video lecture is that the teacher cares . . .about him

Section 113: Is the memorization and drill and practice of advanced math the best way to sell kids on becoming scientists and engineers?

Section 114: 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?

Whose Best Interest is it Anyway?

Emotiguy Surprised by farconville

This afternoon one of my students told me that she worked on her explorer Glogster from home. She went to the site, logged in and added some facts to the glog she began in class with me earlier in the week. Now, no one asked this child to do that; no one even suggested that she do it–she chose to do this all on her own.

This is not the first time that a student has told me they worked on something at home that we did in class. I have had children write numerous stories on Storybird while at home, I have had students create animated movies in Kerpoof at home with friends. And I have had first graders line up with a piece of paper and a pencil so I could write down the link to what we were doing in class so they could try it at home. It is not these things that amaze me, though they do excite me. What amazes me is that more people are not tapping into these resources of excitement and interest for their students.

As teachers, we want students to write, and write a lot. Not every child likes to do this so it is our job to find ways to help make it more fun for them. When you have second graders asking to use Storybird so they can write and publish more stories, you need to harness that excitement and find more ways to excite your class so they want to write, even when no one is asking them to. It is the same with every subject: find what it is that grabs the kids’ attention and interest and use it for all that it is worth.

So why aren’t more people doing this? From what I heard the other day at a meeting I attended at another school, the response is “time constraints” and “state-mandated curricular obligations” that prevent them from trying out new tools. Basically what I heard (and have heard many times before in various chats) is that they do not have the time to teach the students how to use a new tool, it is easier and less time-consuming for them to use what they already know (Power Point), especially with everything else they have to do.

So, I ask, is it in the best interest of the students to have them interested and excited about what they are learning and doing, or is it in their best interest to just get it done because they have to?


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