What School Could Be, Should Be, and Almost Never Is

"Brain development is experience dependent."

"For the brain to build itself, it needs to engage in a certain kind of activity. This kind of activity…MOTIVATED, EFFORTFUL, REPEATED, TRIAL-AND-ERROR, EXPERIMENTAL INTERACTIONS WITH THE ENVIRONMENT. That’s the only way the brain builds itself."

"The brain is a muscle and like any muscle, you’ve got to exercise it."

"School is not an environment designed to build a brain."

"There is no association between test scores and national success."

You know what predicts performance @ Google?
"Give me an example of a time when you solved an analytically difficult problem." ~ Laszlo Block

For decades, countries around the world have been testing the hypothesis that the only thing that matters in school is how well students perform on academic tests. The results of this vast social experiment are in, and they are not good: Focussing narrowly on test scores is a dumb idea that destroys’ creativity, well-being and initiative in children. Employers want to hire young people who can demonstrate creativity, initiative, and social skills. In fact, everyone wants young people to demonstrate these “nonacademic” outcomes. What are the alternatives? What can parents, teachers, and others who care about children do? What can we do now to prepare children for the uncertain, complex, and challenging future that they face? Dr. Steve Hughes is a pediatric neuropsychologist and Director of the Center for Research on Developmental Education, a social business that guides organizations seeking to document the unique, wide-scope outcomes that result from experiential, non-traditional, and growth-oriented programming. Dr. Hughes’s areas of expertise are assessment of cognitive, social, emotional, and moral development, and is a strong advocate for educational approaches that foster human development.