It’s obvious to most people that the children who do well in school aren’t always the most successful in the real world. Why is that? Isn’t school success a predictor of adult success?
Why did those hard-working students, the ones who took pride in always getting the “A”, not become the most successful adults? Why did the daydreamers sometimes end up with the mansions, the great cars and sometimes the patents? Why do schoolteachers constantly tell children that daydreaming is bad and that daydreamers and those with ADD will have an awful future if they can’t focus on the matter at hand? Why? Don’t teachers understand the theory of the self-fulfilling prophecy and the no-cebo effect? Many teachers are doing more harm than good. Since 50-80% of kids seem to have ADD, that’s a lot of kids that are “doomed to fail” acording to the average teacher that has difficulty dealing with ADD. I think those teachers didn’t get the news that many a CEO has ADD and is doing fabulous with it.
I hate to tell people the hard truth, but teachers don’t really know what makes success. They really think that good, cooperative students make good adults (they get the “A”‘s) and children that don’t focus and are difficult for the teacher to manage are poor students (and therefore get lower grades) and will probably be poor adults. These teachers would be surprised to find out how their students “turned out” as adults. They are surprised because they have no idea on what factors lead to success in the real world.
School success is actually more indicative to success in large organizations. It seems that kids that do well in the classroom have developed the right set of social tools and focus tools to be a fantastic employee. They are rule followers and it will serve them well. They usually have good lives as long as they remain safely in a predictable organization. Good for them.
In order to step out of the norm, a person needs to think more creatively, explore concepts more deeply and have a higher level of self-confidence (in their ability to meet unpredictable challenges). Usually creative thinkers tend to daydream and appear to lack focus (especially to irrelevant material). It may be difficult to manage these thinkers in the classroom because, if they feel safe, they can ask a lot of questions as they have a thirst for understanding. However, these students are special, they are ideal, they are more likely to be successful, especially if they are tenacious enough to continue questioning and discussing even with a teacher’s discouraging them.
Currently the clear agenda of the school is: 1. student cooperation (less stress), 2. staying competitive (good standardized testing scores so that they are judged favorably), 3. crowd control (and security) to avoid violence and crimes, 4. teacher satisfaction so they mitigate turnover and union issues, Lastly 5. Curriculum as it relates to meeting the standards imposed by the districts and standardized tests
So, where the districts are failing is: 1. Curriculum as it relates to the real world needs, 2. Student’s emotional wellbeing and self-esteem related to their strengths and abilities, 3. Teacher’s emotional wellbeing, tools and support as it relates to their abilities to coach, nurture and motivate their students to do and be their best, 4. Teacher tools for providing the active learning environment that is most engaging and necessary to the learning process, 4. Training teachers to recognize and appreciate the divergience of their students and the benefits and strengths already in them, ready to bloom and grow for the betterment of all.
If school is to develop thinking and contributing adults for society, then we need to nurture their skills and their spirit in schools. The paradigm must shift its focus from teachers and standard curriculums to students and relevant curriculum.