This is another in a thread of posts about improving schools
The above may seem like an odd title. We want our children to learn, right? Well, children are always learning. The problem is that they may not be learning what we think they should be learning. So key question is — what should they be learning?
We can agree that great teachers do not just force feed children with huge amounts of information. They deliver something else that empowers their students to out perform others. Whatever that is, I want my child to learn it. So what is it? Well, it has to do with focus. And as Steve Jobs famously pointed out, in order to have great focus, we need to be able to say “no” to stuff that distracts.
Right. Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang build on this idea in NYT today. They argue that science gives us the answer to the question what do children need most. And that answer is — self control. That is a great idea in itself. Think about it — mastering self control is more important than learning any given subject? But it gets better. Teaching self control does not have to mean imposing strict discipline. To the contrary, it is about building engagement and self-esteem from engagement.
FOLLOW - Better teaching in matters of self control and focus does not mean 24 hours a day focus. Jim Loehr rightly points out that the ideal work method is to intensely engage and then stop for a rest and distraction. Here he is
Hanif Kureishi makes a distinction between creative and destructive distractions. I think this is useful.