what kind of life are we preparing our kids for?

by mbjerede, August 25, 2015



What kind of life does our current educational system prepare our kids for? Should we want more? We (Mike and Marie) think definitely so.

The workplace has changed since we graduated school and  it will continue to keep changing. Regardless of whether our kids will work in retail, in a corporation, in a factory, or as independent contractors, they will need the skills of entrepreneurs, of taking ownership, and of life-long learning.

Our own experience as professionals inside and outside of corporations suggests that job-related skills (such as coding or finance or marketing) are merely table stakes for getting a position.  Beyond that, employers value employees who can understand the goals of the organization and take ownership of moving them forward. This may look like customer service, or increased efficiency, or improved design, or improving the work of other employees, or any number of other things. There will also be a requirement for authentic teamwork – where all team members can count on the strengths of others to complete complex projects. Skills such as collaboration, creativity, and communication will be necessary in order to be competitive in any sort of job.

We consider the current educational system to be imbalanced in favor of academic achievement at the expense of these other, critical non-cognitive skills. We do not suggest watering down academic standards, but rather that we simultaneously increase our focus on non-cognitive measures to balance the focus on academic scores. We have chosen student ownership of their learning, also known as agency and self-direction as an appropriate metric to achieve that balance.

We consider a shift in schooling from extrinsic motivation to intrinsic motivation on the part of students, teachers, and administrators to be critical in achieving student ownership. This site is dedicated to our inquiry into the circumstances under which intrinsic motivation and student ownership can be achieved while continuing the focus on authentic academic achievement.

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