The Learning Machine

Malvern Prep Social Entrepreneurship students presenting to a CEO panel the prototype of an app that increases a positive mood to help mitigate suicidal thinking and behaviors. (Phoot credit: Bob Colameco)

Malvern Prep Social Entrepreneurship students presenting to a CEO panel the prototype of an app that increases a positive mood to help mitigate suicidal thinking and behaviors. (Phoot credit: Bob Colameco)

The opening of this sharp piece by Reshan Richards and Stephen Valentine reveals the most important thing I have learned from teaching Social Entrepreneurship the last two years:

“At its most basic level, a startup is a learning machine—one that helps its founders understand and serve the real world...”

The title of their article puts a fine point on the matter in the form of a question: “What Would Happen If Learning in School Became More Like Working at a Startup?”

Here are just a few of the things that I would anticipate:

+ Learners would become more skilled at asking better questions.

+ Learners would develop, through daily practice, the habit of lifelong learning.

+ Learners would discover their innate strengths and how they can best use those to help their team achieve its goals.

+ Learners would be more engaged with their learning.

As General McChrystal pointed out, in a world of accelerating change “knowing stuff” is a stock with a declining value.

On the other hand, solving a problem in a creative and collaborative context--in other words, acting like an entrepreneur--allows a learner to “pull” in the knowledge she needs, when she needs it.  To the extent that there is still essential content, the teacher (doesn’t “coach” make more sense) can guide entrepreneurial learners to discover intersections with the problem at hand.

When and where does your school offer opportunities for learners to be entrepreneurial?

 

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Christian Talbot