I guess it’s fashionable to knock the education systems of today in comparison with prior ones, and every generation does it. In which case there is no point my joining in.
I do think that things have changed. And the change that most intrigues me here, which affects individuals, companies, schools, healthcare, even software, is to do with our motives. We spent a long time believing that Maslow ruled, and there was no better theory for the bulk of the 20th century. Until Driven. Which I read just about as often as I read The Social Life of Information and The Cluetrain Manifesto and Emergence and The Borderless World.
Nohria and Lawrence make many good points, but there’s one thing about their four-driver model that has never ceased to intrigue me. [The drivers are: The drive to acquire, the drive to learn, the drive to bond and the drive to defend].
As with Maslow, three of the drivers, to acquire, to learn and to defend, can be made to work in hierarchical as well as non-hierarchical models. But my gut feel is that the drive to bond does not.
Bonding is a lateral thing to do, a sideways activity.
And ever since I watched Joi Ito’s HeckleBot in action, I have wondered about the use of something similar in education. Particularly in inner cities (you can take the boy out of Calcutta but you can never take Calcutta out of the boy) youth are pretty disenchanted with everything and everyone. The only thing that drives them is peer respect and recognition. They feel disenfranchised from anything else.
What would happen if every class had a hecklebot-blog standing alongside the teacher? I wonder.