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Blame Thomas Friedman (Part 1)

He Says Your Child Needs to Become a Self-Driven Learner

Thomas Friedman is an award-winning New York Times columnist and writer of the prophetic book, “The World is Flat” in 2004. Last week he wrote a column about education that describes a future with which every parent must wrestle. He writes:

“Obviously, everyone still needs strong fundamentals in reading and writing and math, but in a world where you will change jobs and professions several times, the self-motivation to be a lifelong learner will be paramount.”

Thomas friedman, nyt, 10/20/2020

Self-Driven Learners

Thomas Friedman has no idea how few students in our educational system are prepared for the future that he has described (see Dr. Scott’s previous blog, “Toilet paper or diploma?”).

Here’s a pop-quiz for you, parents. On a scale of 1 to 5 (with five being high), ask yourself, “How self-motivated is my child to learn?”  

Of the hundreds of families with whom we have spoken over the last several months, the vast majority answer in the 1 to 3 range. 

COVID has given parents a glimpse of how poorly our education system prepares students to become self-motivated, life-long learners. So now what you ask?

If you Believe Thomas Friedman

If you believe that Mr. Friedman speaks the truth and want to begin positioning your child for the world he describes, then Dr. Scott and I would like to help. We invite you on a journey into the world of self-driven learning. On this journey, you’ll need to prepare by doing three things:

Step 1

Buckle your seatbelts. The ride will be bumpy. 

Step 2

Once your seats are firmly buckled, consider the possibility that school success is no longer the ticket to the middle-class that it once was. I know that this may be difficult to accept — especially for those of you who excelled at school. But the “creative destruction” facing schools has just been supercharged by COVID. Not only will state and local budgets be stretched, but more than ever, there is no doubt that much of what schools teach is obsolete. Your child now needs to learn something that schools do not teach: “Learnability.”

Step 3

Finally, if you haven’t done so already, please, please, please read Thomas Friedman’s full article. He makes several pronouncements about the future of learning that are hard to refute. And, with all disruptions, the longer you wait to adjust, the more difficult it will be to thrive during the disruption. So for the sake of your child, it’s time to start your pivot. 

Part 2: “The Parent Pivot: What Parents Must Know and How to Prepare.”

The change that Mr. Friedman describes will not be easy. In my next post, I’ll provide some super simple strategies to help families prepare for the future Mr. Friedman describes.

In the meantime

Be aware that Dr. Scott and I have begun building a community of parents and young learners who are interested in working collaboratively towards learning independence. We are creating a series of online courses that will give families the support, encouragement, and practical skills they will need to succeed in this new educational frontier. If you’re interested in learning more, sign up by clicking here, and we’ll send you more information. We are enrolling parents now for our beta test.

We are also continuing our regular, twice-a-month webinars on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays from 10-11a CST. Dr. Scott and/or I will provide free training and will be available for individual questions about our online course, our podcasts, our blogs, or any other questions you might have. Click here to sign up.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the the conclusion of this post.

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Quick Start Guide

If you made it this far then don’t stop now. The Quick Start Guide delivers a week’s worth of curated and highly practical resources to grow your learning leadership for the next 5 days. This is only the beginning! 

What’s included:

  • Key podcasts
  • Questions to ask your child
  • Blog posts
  • Interviews & videos