Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Linchpin by Seth Godin

Just sat in on an Elluminate session with Steve H. where Seth talked about the message in his book, "Linchpin:".  Here are my notes from that session.

We need to teach our kids how to solve interesting problems and how to lead.  If school aren't, can't, won't, don't realize, or don't want to – we need to "homeschool" our kids from 3 pm until school starts the next morning to stand out.  We need to teach kids to not “fit in”; we need to reward kids for standing out rather than fitting in unfortunately while at the same time maintaining NCLB test scores.  We need to remember that the real customers are the kids, not our superiors.

We have enough time and resources in the school day to let kids start speaking up.  We need to stop asking about test scores and start talking about how to make a difference. If you can persistently put ideas in front of people who trust you, sooner or later the "nickel  will drop".   It is that flip that should be our goal.  If kids realize that others want this change, they will start doing it as well.

We need to say to our kids, "You are a genius, the world needs your contribution!"  They need to know their gifts, talent and responsibilities.  One teacher said she tried it and her 5 and 7 year olds get it, and they know each others gifts!

We can change this culture and the system with these conversations with young kids.  Genius means – not Albert E., but solving a problem in a way that it has never been solved before.  Unfortunately we scare it out of kids today, by telling them they broke a rule, etc.  Yes, it is not easy to manage a class of 33 geniuses, but making it easy is not the point.

Seth mentioned a concept that I really wish someone would take the chance and do - "non-schooling" – providing resources and letting kids figure it out.

How do we break things into small enough groups with enough unique voices.  Let’s fail 10 percent of the time with experiments like Google does as a company.  Great employee characteristics is what we should be looking for in students.  Reward risk taking.

We need to seek out risk taking teachers and celebrate their failures. We need to praise those that fail when they tried something that didn’t work.

Do what is necessary to make an impact.  When enough is at stake, people chose to be a major maverick.  If we want real change, it is going to happen one person at a time even when what people say is wacky.

How to start? One example was to start a father - daughter book club.  Read something that would never be on the curriculum that will lead to "real" conversations. Again, the right books will lead to the right conversations.  It will work.  If we teach people that they can look into the words and then have provocative conversations where there is no right answer, we’ll build on their genius.

Make a difference and be unreasonable about it!