November 25, 2022

First of all, my headline is slightly bullshittish. How do we define "success?" Our job as educators is to help learners figure out what success means for them and their families within the context of their world.

BUT, I do like the idea of figuring out what are the actual skills students need to have a chance in today's world, so...

You can go to your staff and have an incredibly vibrant debate about the merits (or not) of these lists.

Here are some quotes from the article where I read this to make you think further.

"Organizational psychologist Adam Grant writes, 'The evidence is clear: academic excellence is not a strong predictor of career excellence. Across industries, research shows that the correlation between grades and job performance is modest in the first year after college and trivial within a handful of years. For example, at Google, once employees are two or three years out of college, their grades have no bearing on their performance.'"

"Dr. Grant continues, 'Academic grades rarely assess qualities like creativity, leadership and teamwork skills, or social, emotional and political intelligence. Yes, straight-A students master cramming information and regurgitating it on exams. But career success is rarely about finding the right solution to a problem — it’s more about finding the right problem to solve.'"

Consider the first sentence in Dr. Grant's quote. "The evidence is clear: academic excellence is not a strong predictor of career excellence." If that is true, and I believe to the core of my being that it is true, then we as educators have been speeding down the primrose path of irrelevancy by staking our entire profession on these stupid, God-forsaken State-mandated exams. These tests simply have NO CORRELATION to future success and happiness. PERIOD! They are simply education reformers' versions of bullshit.

Emotional Intelligence. Employers believe a high EQ is as important (if not more so) than a high IQ...see the opinion of Adam Grant above. Working in a diverse work environment with people holding different viewpoints about how the project should be completed, let alone differing views on politics, requires a high EQ. Helping learners achieve a high EQ is simply a no-brainer.

Cognitive Flexibility. According to Tim Elmore, cognitive flexibility is defined as, "how well a student can deliberately switch between mental processes to generate appropriate behavioral responses." Employers do not want their workers to get "stuck" or become paralyzed when faced with difficulties. Cognitive flexibility prevents the paralysis.

About the author 

Tom Butler, Ph.D.

I believe that public education is for the public good and that education should be uncompromisingly learner-centered. The New Learning Ecosystem points us away from the old model of education that does not serve kids well. All educators regardless of where they work can help lead and contribute to the New Learning Ecosystem.

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