Steve Hargadon of The Future of Education hosted another good session tonight with author Jay Cross who wrote Informal Learning: Rediscovering the Natural Pathways That Inspire Innovation and Performance. The discussion was interesting, and his book sounds like a great read, but there was one particular thing that he said that stuck with me more than anything else. As he was talking about how most learning comes to us informally on the job or wherever…he said something about Google…and recognizing that some employees are worth 200 times more than the average employee. He wasn’t talking about money value, but in what they were able to accomplish. He talked about how they are the ones that should be invested in.
The type of person he was referring to shows up in the desks of our schools and classrooms. How do we as educators deal with kids like that? It seems to depend on each adult’s comfort level. And then if they survive to adulthood with those tendencies still intact, how does the workplace deal with that? Again, it depends on comfort level. How does a culture like the one he talks about, one that values high levels of creativity and enthusiasm….one that values great thinkers and vision makers…how does that exist and sustain itself? What does that take? And inversely, why are there some work/school environments that actually do everything they can to squelch those exact same qualities? What does that take? There’s a saying: Whatever you feed most gets the strongest. It seems to me that it is definitely a choice..a choice by each and every one participating.
By exploring our own comfort level and allowing our boundaries to soften and widen to include those things in people that make us feel a little out of control, a little uncomfortable…allowing room for people that may take up more space than the average student or employee…that not only encourages that kind of ability in a student, employee or co-worker, but it also increases that in ourselves.