Future of Learning Top Reads for week of Sept 17 2018

Photo by  Tom Gainor  on  Unsplash

Photo by Tom Gainor on Unsplash


On teaching boys

As someone who worked in all-boys schools for 20 years and as someone who attended a Jesuit all-boys high school, I want to propose that we male educators have two choices: we can be unequivocal with young men about standards of behavior and about equitable treatment of females, or we can be complicit in the culture identified in this tweet.

When we males interact with our female peers, we are teaching our male students.

When we males talk about our spouses and our partners and our daughters, we are teaching our male students.

When we males overhear “boys being boys” but say nothing, our silence teaches our male students.

We have thousands of micro-opportunities to model behavior and to teach our male students. That means we have thousands of opportunities to change the culture by slow drip approach. And when each one of us seizes those thousands of opportunities, they become tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of consistent messages about standards of behavior, equity, and justice.

This isn’t about the future of learning; it’s about learning now.


“Education in the Age of Innovation,” by John Kao, Independent School Magazine

“We live in a time of VUCA — an increasingly popular acronym for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Times of stability require only incremental adjustment and fine-tuning. Times of VUCA require bold innovation. […]

“The passion and idealism of this rising generation, however, is one of the most underutilized resources for good on the planet because there is a gap between what education usually provides and what young people need to know to thrive and to become socially active in the 21st century. This gap was poignantly illustrated to me by Gabe, a 12-year-old in New York, who told me point-blank, ‘I know I’m going to leave a legacy. I know I’m going to leave my mark. I just need someone to show me how.’ […]

“Like it or not, education must transform; there is simply no alternative. It is a service industry in which its ‘customers’ — students, parents, teachers, and funders — are increasingly dissatisfied. In my view, there is an ‘invalid social contract’ in which students can do everything right according to the existing system and then find gaps in their ability to thrive in the world.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Here is a simple question that few educators, students, or parents ask:

What is school for?

(H/T Seth Godin, episode 26)

In the industrial age, school was for preparing learners for largely known problems using largely known methods.

In our VUCA age, aka Age of Accelerations, school should be for the preparation of learners to identify problems no one has thought of before and then to journey into that unknown territory to create solutions.

What might such preparation look like? As Kao puts it,

“What this new era requires is the ability to generate new ideas, to develop them through mastery of such skills as storytelling, design, and collaboration and then drive these ideas to the realization of value through entrepreneurship. These are skills that employers have stated clearly as among their most important criteria for employability. And this is the new blended set of capabilities that defines the landscape of innovation.”

At your school, how do people answer that crucial question: What is school for?


“Business schools are a technology of the last century,” by Harold Jarche on Jarche.com blog

“I have said before that a professional learning community, with its redundant connections, repetition of information, and indirect communications, is a much more resilient system than any designed professional development program can be. The bottom line is that learning faster is not about taking more courses or consuming more information. It’s about having better connections. Well-managed professional communities of practice with a good vision and a compass for the future can provide a trusted environment for making these connections.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Jarche.com may seem like an unusual source for a future-of-learning reading recommendation, but I find that corporate L&D is producing much of the most interesting and relevant thinking.

While Jarche is writing here about MBA programs, don’t these same insights apply to teacher professional development?


Question of the week:

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Christian Talbot