Clark Quinn's Learnings about Learning
(The Official Quinnovation blog)

19 February 2006

New Curricula?

Clark @ 1:40 PM

After the recent (and excellent) ITFORUM discussion, Stewart Kelly had a message that included this:

One of my professors once worked at an exclusive private school. She told us that the students in this school were not taught how to become cogs in the machine, rather they were taught the metacognitive and leadership skills they would need to “rule” over the rest of society.

I don’t want to make this sound like a conspiracy theory, but I would submit that our students would be best served by developing these types of skill sets too.

I couldn’t agree more. I took my ‘wisdom’ interest, as part of a presentation I gave to the eMerging eLearning conference, and wondered what a curriculum for the future would be. It included meta-cogntiive & leadership skills, in addition to systems-thinking & modelling, research & design, ethics & values, etc.

To the question of who needs leadership skills, someone once replied “everyone”, which is going to be increasingly true going forward. With the accelerating rate of change, prognoticators saying we’ll be a ‘free-agent nation’, and the changing nature of work having us working more on a project basis, what will be necessary will be our skills to adapt, to learn, to work with others, and take different roles to achieve success. It’ll be about attitude and approach as much as pure knowledge.

And right now, that’s not coming from the schools, because the educational establishment hasn’t yet figured out how to test this new curricula (among other things:). How are we going to get change fast enough to save our current generation?


  1. Good question, Clark.

    Is finding a way to test really the hard part? The challenge, I think, is setting up a system that would allow enough time to test. Quizzes at the end of the chapter ain’t gonna cut it. This would mean smaller class sizes, which means more money, which means government involvement. I suppose it’s going to be kind of a push/pull solution. Eventually, the economy will be impacted –especially if we do become an agent-nation. I hate to be a pessimist, but for schools to really change, it’s going to take some economic pain. Problem is, there’s nothing fast about that.

    Maybe the solution isn’t in the schools (gulp). Seems like summer camps and community centers should be adding leadership, communication, etc. to their programming. Organizations like the YMCA and Big Brothers Big Sisters touch a lot of children.

    Comment by Gretchen Hartke — 20 February 2006 @ 8:55 PM

  2. I’ve been in some progressive public schools that are adopting many of the ideas Clark shared in his posting. The idea is to implement more project-based learning and have portfolios form the basis for both learning and assessing learning and create an active learning environment. Unfortunately this is a rarity not the norm.

    Entrenched interests in maintaining the status quo come from all sides: the government, school administrators, teachers, and even parents. The NCLB is proving to be especially deleterious to innovation. The over-weaning influence of the basics movement, touted by more conservative elements, carries the idea of there being a set body of knowledge to its logical absurdity, i.e.the knowledge of 20-30 years ago is sufficient for preparing a learner for the challenges of today’s world.

    I’d like to share an observation of a trend I see happening…and that is the growing home school movement. Parents are voting with their feet and leaving the public schools at an increasing rate. Once considered a fringe movement composed of religious zealots, home schooling has become an attractive alternative to the intellectually stifling atmosphere of the public education system. Perhaps this will be an important training ground for the “free-agent nation” Clark mentioned.

    I had the opportunity to teach a group of home schoolers and found it to be a wonderful experience. I thought I was going to be giving one family’s children a science lesson on dissection and anatomy, but as it turned out, the whole local network packed the house. Parents allowed their children to assume responsibility for their own learning. There was tremendous give and take, and some really deep questioning from learners that would be considered late elementary to middle school age. Learning was tied to the activity, not some artifical span of time called a class period. In fact I thought the level of interaction, collaboration, and engagement put some of the college courses I taught to shame.

    My thought is this is a fertile ground for progressive educators to become engaged with. Home schooling parents are looking for strong, innovative and challenging curricula…and can adopt them much more readily than the public schools ever would.

    Comment by Stewart Kelly — 11 March 2006 @ 10:33 AM

  3. sapete il nome di un sito che…?salve , mi sono sempre appassionato a telefilm come csi e mi piacerebbe sapere se esistono siti internet o magari anche manuali non troppo specifici che illustrano le tecniche della polizia scientifica…. 10 punti al migliore si intende

    Chat Gratis

    Comment by Coodigogep — 20 August 2008 @ 3:21 AM

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