Todd Rose, Stop Award, Education, İnnovation

Todd Rose, Stop Award

Who Wants To Be An Average? Why Education The Old Fashioned Way Doesn’t Work.

Who Wants To Be An Average? Why Education The Old Fashioned Way Doesn’t Work.

10/23/2021 11:19:00 PM

Who Wants To Be An Average? Why Education The Old Fashioned Way Doesn’t Work.

Averages are, by definition, measures of mediocrity. We can't design schools and education around them.

 “All the early thinkers about the schools in the United States felt that everybody should know about the ideals of freedom and toleration because it was felt that you could build a nation on those new Enlightenment ideas." Butit’s possibleto turn students into good citizens in this advanced age without pencil and paper, without only one physical teacher guiding students in rows without regard for how they learn. How? By treating them as individuals, not averages. 

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Rose illustrates the importance of unique individuals instead of averages by using a 1952 U.S. Air Force problem. “They had great planes, great pilots but were getting poor results in training exercises. They blamed the pilots, the flight instructors, ‘new technology.’” Turns out, the problem was the cockpit because it was designed for the"average" pilot's height, weight, arm and leg length, etc.

Slide from Todd Rose Presentation Illustrating AveragesYouTube / Tedx Talks“What happened was once we figured out that there were no averages, you could get on with building a science that starts with human distinctiveness and build up from there. And what's been so cool is whether we're talking about cancer research and treatment, nutrition, or even education...we see the exact same thing: there's just no average person.” headtopics.com

While industries across the globe understand this, education, he says, is the “last industry that still not only allows for average based design; it incentivizes it!”In education speak, it’s called developmentally appropriate, but around fourth grade, we impose expectations that students meet and teachers teach to achieve the average. When the “average” fourth grader knows more and average proficiency is the goal, they stay below the ceiling and are rewarded for doing so. “Nowadays, we have the technology and know-how to scale unbelievably individualized environments and that does not mean isolation,” says Rose. “Not at all.”

The welfare-dad-turned-Harvard professor says that “classrooms are the cockpits of our economy, and to make them optimal for students we need to do what the Air Force did—‘ban the average.’ They were faced with spending more and getting worse results. They learned that their hundred million dollar fighter jets needed flexibility, not uniformity. In education we are spending more and getting worse results. The solution is what the Air Force discovered nearly 60 years ago: we have to design classrooms around every individual, rather than an average of them all. 

“We have 1.2 million high school dropouts every year and we know,” says Rose, that “at least 4% of those dropouts are known to be intellectually gifted,” meaning we’re losing 50,000 of our brightest minds every year. And that’s just what we know.“So far

, we’ve been content to blame the students. We blame the teachers. We even blame the parents.” Like the Air Force cockpit problem, the real problem is bad design. The education system we continue to invest in and trust is designed to fit an “average” student. As the USAF found out—but our education system hasn’t—there are no averages!  headtopics.com

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Is a C better than a D or F ? There are more mass produced people with a degree, and much less people with knowledge and abilities Disappointingly, today, there is not an urgency about exciting education. Instead, there is a false sense that there are enough educated people to help humanity to navigate the complex challenges that lay ahead including climate change and pandemics!

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