Market’s Demands versus Public Perception


I don’t agree with everything Allie Grasgreen says, but a side-by-side of the graphs from her article Ready or Not about how the workplace puts weight behind different criteria than the public is interesting:

Key take-aways:

  • Business Leaders look for more knowledge and skills than the degree.
  • Americans are focusing on the degree more than the skills or knowledge.

We need to recalibrate: it’s a good challenge [accepted] to us in education to add value to the knowledge and skills of our students – as that’s what they’ll use in the field. If our grads cannot apply what they learn to be productive citizens, we are watering down our own image. Let’s help the perceptions align by providing good education, not just pomp and circumstance.

Strength-training creativity

Many scholars from Sir Ken Robinson to Albert Einstein have recognized the importance of creativity in our lives. However, our culture too often forgets to make practicing creativity and imagination part of our mental workout routine. We fill our time with academic focus on deliberate skill sets specific to our field or job.
Yet, if we listen to those who understand neurology, like Scott Barry Kaufman and others, we’ll see that creativity is one of the highest functions: allowing ourselves to deconstruct and reconstruct prior knowledge in a unique situations to develop innovative perspectives/solutions. Dr. John Kounios defines it “as the ability to restructure one’s understanding of a situation in a nonobvious way.” A clinical way to say that creativity allows us to see the world anew, full of new beauty and possibility. Regardless of the definition, the message is the same: practicing creativity and imagination is imperative to our cognitive health.

So, I encourage you to include a creative event or “goal” in your professional development plan. Encourage yourself to go to something like Creative Mornings. Or sign up for a photography course at your local community center. Stretch yourself out beyond the direct-measured professional development to become a better thinker and problem solver. Don’t let your creativity atrophy.

Balance between project-based and linear-based education

ARTICLE: Confessions of a Subversive Student
An interesting read about the need to balance linear, predetermined paths of curriculum with loosely structured situations wherein messy, exploration-based learning can occur. Reminds me of Seyour Papert’s interview, wherein he argues that academics must

“give up the idea of curriculum. Curriculum meaning you have to learn this on a given day. Replace it by a system where you learn this where you need it. So that means we’re going to put kids in a position where they’re going to use the knowledge that they’re getting. So what I try to do is to develop kinds of activities that are rich in scientific, mathematical, and other contents like managerial skills and project skills, and which mesh with interests that particular kids might have.”

Regardless of level, those messy and chaotic moments in project-based learning provide a real opportunity for learning that is different than linear-based. A balance is needed to be sure.