Hot Potato: Food for Thought
Why Johnny Can't...
The Knowledge Glut
1997 September 01
With the tremendous growth in knowledge comes the need to teach ever more material. A two-fold strategy is necessary to meet this need. First, we must stop teaching all those things we teach mainly from habit. (We'll discuss which subjects later.)

Second, we need to teach those things that must be taught in a much more efficient manner. That will require that teachers teach more effectively, students learn faster, and that we stop trying to teach kids things they can't and don't want to learn and concentrate instead on teaching them stuff that sets them on fire. Education must become arson: setting kids on fire. Every kid has a passion for something. Ask a kid what he or she is interested in. Dig into how much the kid actually knows about the thing that interests him or her. The kid probably knows way more about the topic than you do. This will almost certainly be knowledge that the kid has not gained in school.

School needs to stop being about pain and humiliation and start being about celebrating what each kid is good at. This will take the teachers a while to get used to. The kids will pick it up right away.

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