Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Edupreneur Podcast, Episode 47: Is Education Conforming or Liberating? with Steve Hargadon

Audio interview with Zack Baker and Pete Freeman from The Edupreneur: a podcast exploring entrepreneurship and innovation in education from last September.

Some selected quotes:
  • "In a lot of ways, I think that's what we are trying to do in education--which is to reclaim learning. Take it back from these industrial processes models to what learning truly is, which is a personal, individual experience, where we capture a vision of our ability to learn about the world and make a difference."
  • "Because I think what you learn as an educational entrepreneur, or someone who seeks to create new things in education, is that your vision, the interests of other people, and the reality of what can be accomplished are in a constant tug-of-war; and you never know where that is going to land. So unless you are willing to try things out, and then see how the audience responds, you're not going to put yourself in a position for something to 'catch'... and not everything catches. In fact, a significant number of things don't catch. You have an idea or a vision, and you think, 'OK, this is exciting and interesting,' and it's really hard to catch. Because maybe it's not a great idea, or maybe people aren't ready for it, or maybe you're not ready for it."
  • "... she said, 'I wasn't one of the smart ones,' and it just kind-of triggered something in me. I got to thinking about what percentage of students drop out of school, and then what percentage of students would actually say that, that 'I wasn't one of the smart ones,' so it led me on this journey of asking just about everybody I interact with, 'What was your school experience like?' And it's kind of shocking how often I hear almost those exact same words... if you just talk to sort-of average, regular people, you realize that one of the things schools do really well is that they communicate to a significant percentage of the students that they are not good learners. And I thought, 'this is tragic.' At some level, in terms of our core beliefs about what education should do for people, everybody should leave school believing they are capable of something. So why is it that our system leaves so many feeling like failures?" 
  • "OK, it's called Deschooling Society. It is not an easy read. It's Ivan Illich from the 1970's who basically talked about the way in which schools are perpetuated in institutions and the way that institutions perpetuate problems rather than solve them. You have to think about that and you have to kind-of spend time on it, but it's a really interesting idea, right, so the idea would be that the medical-pharmaceutical industry actually has to perpetuate illness to stay in business, rather than promoting health; or the banking industry needs you to be dependent financially rather than be independent. So his view was that school actually was the model for all of that. It's a deep topic and it's a hard read, but that's my recommendation." 
  • "My definition of education is the ability to draw out of a learner (you know I'm going to the Latin here) their innate capacity to learn and grow and improve."
  • "So you have to understand that I believe that education is a process, and that it's a highly people-driven endeavor. And so I don't think there is anything that you can create that will scale and become 'the solution' because learning takes place individually and [is the] process of becoming a learner... I'd create a way for people to talk to each other, because I believe that it is in that process of communicating with each other that the growth takes place."
  • "Cui Bono?  It's the Latin for 'who benefits?' Until you start looking at the way in which people benefit from actions, you miss the larger story of why things happen in our culture and society. Our last daughter took AP World History and you begin to discover that the story of world history is the story of power and control. It's really important to become a discerning citizen or individual and understand that the reason that people tell you do they do things is not always that they do things. So it's important to look behind at why things are done and who benefits from the way things are done."
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