Friday, 16 November 2012

The Law of the Handicap of a Head Start

Education is resistant to innovation India is one of the worlds fastest growing economies. This is in part due to the effects of the Law of the handicap of a head start as well as India's clear choice to invest in education. In fact, it's likely that these two elements are also interconnected. One of the things where the law of the handicap of a head start (= you've invested in a solution that may not be the best, but it keeps you from looking further to more innovative solutions) is most prevalent is the field of education itself. The education system that has been developed in the “first world” has been getting stale. Education is no longer the best way, in western society to get yourself aware and in contact with what is happening right now. The curriculum in most colleges educates young people for a workplace that is no longer there. The top ten new jobs in terms of vacancies didn't exist as little as 5 years ago. Sir Ken Robinson on education Education in the developed world is based on a worldview that was based in the industrial era. This worked fine when we needed people to be educated for jobs in the factory, rather than for knowledge work, where there is a high demand for people who can work creatively. Sir Ken Robinson makes this point beautifully and eloquently in his video. This insight is at the basis of an education revolution going on where instead of teaching children what to think, we're teaching them how to think! A world of difference that is being put into practice at a school in Hyderabad Educational innovation: using what we know! Another part of what is the succes of India is that they have, from day one, been able to use insights from educational innovation and social and environmental psychology to form their curriculum and their very building to create an environment that is conducive to learning and experimentation. This is a far cry from traditional (western) schools. Where even to this very day children are given the same tests on the same day, graded on how well they perform as related to children their age instead of looking to the individual child and it's learning need. Our schools have been teacher centered. The buildings reflect that, the attitude and expectations of parents reflect that. Tradition and the law of the handicap of the head start mean that we have maneouvred ourselves and our educational system into a heavyset, overly centralized and bureaucratic mogol that is now hard to topple because many people in the workplace still believe that a degree from a top school means you're prepared for the world. In the real world, successful entrepreneurs start at age 12 and hire their parents before their 14th birthday. Just look at Ben Woldrings story if you want to get what I'm talking about here. Getting a head start these days you'd be better of getting your primary education at the Rockwell International school in Hyderabad than getting it at any traditional school in America or Europe. A sane approach to education This school has learned from the insights that have made Google and Apple the great companies they are. Provide an educational environment that promotes working together, that allows people (children are people too) to play and experiment. Allowing children to learn when they are ready means really giving room for children to set the tempo. A child can learn to read in 6 hours when it's ready. Or it can learn to read in 16 weeks according to the schedule the teacher sets and be miserable because perhaps it's not ready or so far ahead of the crowd that it's bored out of their wits. It's time for a sane approach to education! by Suprajaku

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