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Some Googley Advice for Education

Among other things, our political and education leaders are constantly telling us that schools must prepare students with the skills they’ll need for 21st century jobs.

Well, you have to admit that Google is certainly one good example of a very successful business here in the 21st century.

So, what skills do they want to see in their potential employees?

At the highest level, we are looking for non-routine problem-solving skills. We expect applicants to be able to solve routine problems as a matter of course. After all, that’s what most education is concerned with. But the non-routine problems offer the opportunity to create competitive advantage, and solving those problems requires creative thought and tenacity.

How do we find these non-routine savants? There are many factors, of course, but we primarily look for …

… analytical reasoning.

… communication skills.

… a willingness to experiment.

… team players.

… passion and leadership.

Obviously, not every one of our graduates is going to work for Google. But that list of factors would pretty much prepare students to work almost anywhere.

Assuming, of course, that we actually fostered those skills while they are in our schools, which, for the most part, we don’t.

Look around most American classrooms and you’ll see very little experimentation or work on non-routine problem-solving.

And, especially when test prep kicks into high gear in the spring, almost no passion or team work.

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2 Comments

  1. How often do we see these traits in our educators, too?

    Not that they don’t possess the qualities for realization, but experimentation doesn’t sound like a recipe for raising test scores; why be a team player when it’s your butt on the line when the scores come back, and where’s the passion or leadership when nothing can be done due to budgets, rules, or a call for change?

    Yeah, our system is broken.

    But, Google is getting employees. As are many other fine places of employ. Despite the pessimism of my opener here, how do some of these public-school-bred kids “make it” despite some of the odds?

  2. Blackboard does all that and more!
    Analytical Reasoning, “How Do I Answer The Teacher In The Way They Want Me To?”
    Communication Skills, “How Do I Communicate With One Person (Teacher) In The Exact Way They Want Me To?”
    A Willingness To Experiment, “How Do I Experiment In The Exact Way The Teacher Wants Me To (And Find Out Exactly What The Teacher Wants Me To “Discover”)?
    Team Players, “How Can I Prove I’m Better Than Everyone Else? (Blackboard Assessments tell me so.)”
    And Passion and Leadership, “What’s more Passionate Than Submitting? How Can Students Not Love All the “SUBMIT” Buttons on Every Page Of BlackBoard?”
    YOU MUST SUBMIT to the logic of using a technology model from the 1900s to teach 21st Century skills. Besides the technology is 100 years newer than many pedagogical practices being used in schools. And don’t get me started on the bastardization of the term PLC! I have to stop now …

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