For the past several years, as we have been thinking a lot about 21t century skills and how a school should transition from academic focus to skill focus, a realization has dawned on me. Maybe the way we have been thinking about solving the problem isn’t all that easy as it looks. Maybe there is a different approach.
One argument I used to give in favor of fixing public schools from the inside out was the immense scale. Yes, you can start a new school model locally, but things will not turn around until you get most public schools to adopt a solution. That is why so many models have come in the past, but either has become a local success or just faded away as they couldn’t scale it.
In addition to the scale, another reason this is hard to make a school-dependent solution work is the misaligned incentives. Monetizing your product from the school budget is one challenge. If you come up with initiatives to disrupt the system itself, that needs funding, which cannot come from the same system as it will be equivalent to self-disruption. This is also where most of the nonprofit initiatives stall to make the change widespread.
So in hindsight, I think that a successful change maker has to be a well-funded venture with the investors who are there for the long haul.
So the conclusion-
1). It is hard to build a successful school reform strategy from the inside because of the scaling challenges and misaligned monetization incentives. The best strategy is to create alternate cohort-based models.
2). These alternate models must be scalable using technology to avoid success silos in affluent areas.
3). The curriculum for 21st Century skills education should be chosen carefully.
Let’s take a quick first look at what the goals of a 21st-century coaching curriculum are.
1) Financial Freedom
- Make their first million by the time kids hit 20 years of age.
- Do not need to do a 9-5 job.
2) Physical fitness
- Sport, Yoga, or some self-defense skill
- Because a healthy mind lives in a healthy body
3) Stress management
- breathwork, mindfulness, clarity of thinking
- A quiet mind is an essential ingredient of success and happiness.
4) Communication (Writing, verbal)
- If you want to think clearly, write.
- If you want to write clearly, read.
- If you want to read – start reading sooner then later
5) Personal Branding
- You are the media.
- Personal branding leads to audiences and a voice.
- Audiences lead to financial freedom.
6) Leadership, compassion, creativity, curiosity
- Obvious 21st-century skills
I will write about each curriculum element in detail in the coming days, mostly to clear my thoughts. I may also consider starting a podcast about 21st-century skills.