Culture of One Right Answer? Old School

I just watched this TEDTalk video called How to Learn? From Mistakes describing how we need to grow out of our old school roots of a “culture of one right answer.” In this talk, Diana Laufenberg explains that 100 years, we all went to a school house and learned from a school teacher because “that is where information lived.” Fast forward a bunch of decades to the days of printed encyclopedia volumes owned by affluent families, and now fast forward to today. We’ve moved from a time of information scarcity to a time of information overload – so why haven’t our teaching styles changed? Why do we still live in a culture of “one right answer?”

Here’s what Diana postulates we need to move to and emphasize:

Experiential learning | Student voice | Embracing failure

Here’s the interesting thing. This concept of the school house being the place “where the information lives” and the school teacher being the possessor of all the right answers, then asking students to circle one single bubble on a standardized test reminds me a lot of how the government has been portrayed for years and years. Having all the answers and asking people to go to the government to get those answers.

But as we all know…this is changing. On a daily basis. Govies are proclaiming: “we don’t have all the answers!” Government is releasing data sets never exposed to air before and asking the public to provide input and ideas. Social media allows new media departments to try new things and “fail fast” (experiental learning) and learn from failures (embrace failure). These tools also allow the agencies to have a voice like never before, sound much more human, and connect with real people (student voice).

So while I see so many amazing applications for this in our education system, it’s also incredibly energizing to see the government taking these same three key elements to heart and changing day by day. Some examples…

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