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Time for Education to Evolve

By: Robin P. Zander on September 13th, 2018

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Time for Education to Evolve

Learning Organization

As someone whose career has spanned everything from circus performance to management consulting, I am constantly impressed by people. Individually, humans can be incredible learners, capable of resilience and adaptation. And, in well-organized teams, we can accomplish even more. Yet our schools are failing to adapt to the quickly changing culture and technology around us.

Most education systems in North America are still reliant on an assembly-model way of teaching and thinking. Consider the structure of most schools: there are grades, segregated by age; there are alarm bells which tell students when to move from one classroom to the next, and the most common form of learning is to sit passively and absorb lectured lessons.

More subtly, subjects get taught according to a linear progression. Math education in the United States, for example, moves from algebra to geometry, to advanced algebra, to precalculus, to calculus. This sequence trains students to think about math in a way that only entrenches a hierarchical, linear view of how the world works. Simply put, schools in the 21st century are still designed to produce people to work in factories.

Adam Pisoni is the co-founder and former CTO at Yammer where they worked to make companies more open and connected. Through experimenting with rapid iteration, changing mindsets, and evolving business practices, Adam coined the term "Responsive" and began connecting with other people who agreed that business could be done differently. Responsive Org was founded to develop a shared language and a global community that promotes and enables a fundamental shift in how we work and organize.

Adam later moved on from Yammer, choosing to focus on bringing responsive practices to K-12 education. He commented on the similarities between business and education, saying "Both are struggling to move beyond their industrial era roots and adapt to a more connected world." He is now founder and CEO of Abl Schools, where they are changing how principals and administrators relate to their teachers and allocate resources. The idea is to help schools better manage their day-to-day operations to be able to achieve their educational goals.

Exciting possibilities emerge when we dare to reinvent behemoth institutions like the U.S. education system by experimenting with new approaches that leverage technology and use innovative models of collaborating. What is necessary is the willingness to experiment.

At this year's Responsive Conference, taking place September 24-25 in Queens, NY, Adam will be sitting down with Anthony Kim, Founder and CEO of Education Elements and co-author of The NEW School Rules, to discuss Education in the 21st century and how we can use Responsive practices to empower our educators and help students thrive.

To get a taste of what they will be talking about, I've included an interview I did with The NEW School Rules co-authors Anthony Kim and Alexis Gonzalez-Black.  Watch the interview below, or listen to a podcast version here.  

Robin and the Responsive Team have offered several scholarship tickets to this year's Responsive Conference at a significant discount to anyone working full time in education. To take advantage of this offer, email Hello@ResponsiveConference.com.

Responsive Conferences takes place September 24-25, 2018 in Queens, NY. To learn more, visit www.ResponisveConference.com.  Use the code edelements2018 for a discount on registration.

To learn more about leadership and responsive teams – and get news about events like Responsive Conference and the NSR Leadership Institute – subscribe to The NEW School Rules blog.

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About Robin P. Zander

Robin P. Zander is an author, strategist, and performance coach. With a diverse background ranging from management consulting to circus performance, he has spent his life working with individuals and organizations to maximize potential. In 2016, Robin founded The Responsive Conference, an interactive, 2-day experience where professionals in People Operations, HR, and management to come together and explore the Future of Work. Through a combination of interactive group formats, immersive workshops, and open forum discussions, attendees will explore how to create agile, responsive organizations, be it in business, education, or beyond.