A few weeks ago, with my upcoming (now partially released) eBook, Start Schooling Dreams, I presented a speech to my Toastmasters club on three chapters of SSD.
Responses: “Fantastic & engaging. Excellent job w/ including the entire audience.” I even curved some mindsets of people who regard themselves as true “schoolies.” Above all, every single person couldn’t help but note my passion for it. I truly am passionate about improving school/education/learning, whatever you want to title it. Without further ado, here is my speech. (I’ll start videotaping them from now on.)
Alright, I’m going to ask you just a couple questions and I reallllly want you to raise your hand to answer.
How many of you have a passion for something?
How many of you found this passion, whether it is just a hobby or an actual job, from school?
It’ll be easier for you all to see if I asked it this way, how many of you developed your passion outside of school?
Yes this speech is partially about where you find your passion, but more about where you don’t find it; school.
One more question, let’s imagine this room being occupied by a real teacher and packed with real students. And the teacher asks a question, how many of you are passionate about this class? *No hands go up… people laugh at the realization*
Education is racing … to the bottom. And I want to cover three points out of my 35,000 word manifesto I’ve written called Start Schooling Dreams. Since the Pygmalion affect, impatience, and accidents are three separate chapters in my book, I’m going to make it easy for you to catch my transitions.
Whenever I ask you a new question, I’m going to lead into the next topic and I’ll expect you to acknowledge by raising your hands or nodding your head. Does that sound fair enough? [Yes… that was a question]
I took a sociology class a couple of years ago and I loved it. Particularly, I loved asking questions in the class. Not just any questions, specific types of questions. Questions that couldn’t be answered, questions that made you think. But one day, I asked a question thinking I was being sly again, but I got an answer back. And that answer still scares me to this day.
We were learning about the Pygmalion effect, also known as the Rosenthal effect. It refers to the observable fact that the greater the expectation of a student, the better they perform.
I raised my hand during one sociology lesson and asked my question …
“Are teachers taught about the Pygmalion effect?”
I wasn’t the only one shocked at the answer, all the students and even the teacher were taken aback.
Am I wrong to think that a single teacher can’t have a powerful and positive expectation of only 30 students?
I have seen teachers tell other teachers how a student is a bad student, how they don’t listen, or that they aren’t very smart. I have also seen the teacher whom that was told to, change their behavior toward that student when she entered their class. As a result? The student became worse, listened less and became – dare I say it – even dumber.
All the while, the few “bright” students got brighter because the teachers challenged them and expected them to be “perfect” students.
Want to create passionate learners in school? Expect passionate learners.
Want to expect passionate learners? Hire teachers who understand the Pygmalion effect.
Who here is impatient?
Wonderful, I admire that. Impatience is a valuable talent to have and it’s a hard talent to acquire when going to school because school initiates patience. You have to be patient and wait to get to the next lesson and you have to wait until the class you really love that starts at 2:00pm. Worst of all, you have to wait until the class you despise is over. Day after day.
The most successful people on the planet can’t handle being patient. Younger versions of the most successful people in the world will, instead of memorizing facts in the class, exchange it with practicing their passion, planning to ship their product their letter, their art, and so on.
Teachers are meant to spark impatience but so few do. Out of the 30 plus teachers I’ve had, only one has wanted all the students to learn, to dream, to find and go after their passion. Only one out of 14+ years of school.
The need of the student isn’t to learn information; it’s to be motivated to learn it and the best way to motivate that is to spark impatience.
Accidents And Questions
Which came first, the dumb caveman or the fire?
Either way, the discovery of fire was an accident but that accident made a dumb caveman look smart – of course, after it made him seem dumb for touching it and burning himself.
What matters is that breakthroughs used to happen very often. It has died down, not because of everything that can be discovered has, but because we reprimand those who make accidents or constantly ask questions. Without the curiosity and the mistakes of the caveman, we may never have evolved into who we are today.
The biggest successes in history were accidents or resulted from consistent questioning.
I found two great examples to share with you.
Will Keith Kellogg had accidentally left some boiled wheat sitting out and it went stale. Instead of throwing it away, Will and his brother Dr. John Harvey Kellogg put it through the rollers to make long sheets of dough. Once it went through, they realized the dough had turned into flakes which they decided to toast. Soon after, they chose to run the same experiment with corn and in 1906 the Kellogg’s company was created, along with the internationally known Corn Flakes.
Richard James, a naval engineer attempted to invent a spring that would stabilize the sensitivity of ships equipment. When a spring he had worked on fell off a shelf and continued moving away, the idea was sparked. With help from his wife, they decided to name the invention Slinky and have sold over 270 million globally.
Scientists, engineers, philosophers and alike, all became famous due to the questions they posed and accidents made. They would ask why until they either found an answer or created one.
Setting things on fire and seeing what happens is helpful too. If you think about it, you can’t be smart until you are dumb.
Now that we know what it means to be smart, what is success?
School is all about success but it’s taught us to love success instead of teaching us of what we are doing. School has said, “Here is success, follow this curriculum to get it.” When school really needs to be saying, “Where is success? How will you get there? How can I help?”
In school, the result holds significance. At the end of life though, is it the results we have attained that makes it a life worth lived, a significant life, one that was lived to the fullest?
Or at the end of life, is it the journey, the actions we took, the decisions we made, the experience we accumulated, the adventure we enjoyed and the understanding of it all that makes life, well, … Life.
The definition school has for “success” is all too wrong. And I knowing the Pygmalion effect, sparking impatience, and creating an environment open for accidents and failure are just three ways education can begin to change for the better. Let’s race to the top.
Stay Positive & If You Haven’t Already …Here Are The First 14 Chapters!
Garth E. Beyer