‘Most Likely To Succeed': Schools Should Teach Kids To Think, Not Memorize
Fourth-grader Scout is struggling to keep her composure during a parent-teacher conference as her teacher expounds upon the character-building aspects of her having failed a math quiz. She fixes her tearful gaze in the distance. “I know that face,” says her father, filmmaker Greg Whiteley. “That face is saying, ‘This is bullshit. This whole thing called school is bullshit.'”
Whiteley’s latest documentary, “Most Likely to Succeed,” delivers a message Americans need to hear, and desperately: our schools are failing our children, leaving them unable to think critically and contribute to an innovation economy.
The educational system is broken. Or at least outmoded, says Larry Rosenstock, founding principal and CEO of High Tech High, a network of schools upending the current framework in California. “We have a system that was created over 100 years ago and everyone has a mental model that says that’s the way it has to be,” he told The Huffington Post.
For too long, the primary focus of education has been the acquisition of knowledge, explains Tony Wagner, expert-in-residence at the Harvard University Innovation Lab. “The whole idea is: [if] you know more stuff, you’re going to be better off, for whatever sets of reasons. And the only way to get it is through the teacher,” he says in the film. “You don’t have to do that anymore. Today, content is ubiquitous, it’s free, it’s on every Internet-connected device, and it’s growing exponentially and changing constantly.”
High Tech High’s methods eschew the traditional instruction of what educators call “content knowledge” — equations, dates, facts. Instead, the schools strive to foster creative problem-solving with a multidisciplinary curriculum. In lieu of tests, students present collaborative projects that require artistic vision, mathematical prowess and historical understanding. As in life, failure is not a letter grade.
But success is —> Read More