Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Billion Minds Unleashed

From Macleans Magazine:

Imagine a billion educated minds, and what they might be capable of. Now imagine those minds belonging to people whose desire for discovery is matched only by their hunger for prosperity -- the kind of hunger that can only be born out of grinding poverty. Picture all those minds growing up and learning in Asia, eastern Europe, South America and Africa. Think about just how different the world will be when those minds turn their attention from the lessons of the past to the possibilities of the future. Now stop imagining, because that's the world we'll be living in within 30 years.

Some of the same themes as in The World is Flat. If you read the entire article (it's short), it discusses the complacency of the "developed" world. "Complacency" is exactly the word I would use to describe many of our students - and teachers. That's one of the reasons I really want all of you to read The World is Flat. Again, not necessarily so that you'll agree with everything in the book, but so that we get outside of our "cocoon" of school and look at the bigger picture. I think it's really hard for those of us who've always known a world in which the U.S. is dominant, and in which change has been relatively slow and incremental. I know it hasn't felt slow and incremental to us, but compared to the pace of change now, it was almost glacial.


  1. When you cease to grow, you begin to decay. The desire to seek change no matter how incremental is important to all those involved in this class.

  2. Complacency...I have such strong feelings when people fail to accept (embrace?) change. The district math curriculum has been under revision for three years. It was approved by our school board in October. Many math teachers are revolting against the big 'change' in how it is written and the implications it has on teaching, grading, etc. I like what you said James. I have a poster in my class that states "Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there!"

  3. There is a great folk song by Nancy Griffith that talks about the worst thing in life you can be is complacent. This certainly fits the article's theme.

    In the English department, we discuss how frustrated we are with students who are taught the format of writing, strong thesis writing, etc., etc. yet continue on in the next level English class only to have "forgotten" or to have "never been taught that" so we revisit the same things yearly. Not to say that reteaching isn't a wise thing to do, but I think it states and both students and teachers are relying on old practices that are not working. We need to challenge ourselves to dig deeper, to reach students and to "force" them to relearn...or learn more, as Tony Winger said so well.

    I think for teachers, complacency comes from the fear of having to do more. How could I possibly change what I do when I feel drowning as it is.

    Thanks, Karl for posting such interesting articles!

  4. I think that is what is so worrisome to me as a teacher that I will become complacent with my teaching and I feel that as long as I continue to find new challenges I won't give into that complacency; that being said, I don't see the same desire in our youth to continue to challenge themselves and I guess that is where my job as an educator is to show them what the rest of the world is doing. I hope that would spark a competitive streak in them to want more for themselves and for future generations as well.