Seth Godin: It’s easier to teach compliance than initiative

Ordinarily we bloggers don’t repost someone else’s entire blog post. But I just had to for this recent post by Seth Godin, It's easier to teach compliance than initiative. Read it and weep.

Compliance is simple to measure, simple to test for and simple to teach. Punish non-compliance, reward obedience and repeat.

Initiative is very difficult to teach to 28 students in a quiet classroom. It's difficult to brag about in a school board meeting. And it's a huge pain in the neck to do reliably.

Schools like teaching compliance. They're pretty good at it.

To top it off, until recently the customers of a school or training program (the companies that hire workers) were buying compliance by the bushel. Initiative was a red flag, not an asset.

Of course, now that's all changed. The economy has rewritten the rules, and smart organizations seek out intelligent problem solvers. Everything is different now. Except the part about how much easier it is to teach compliance.

6 Responses to “Seth Godin: It’s easier to teach compliance than initiative”

  1. In the world of overwritten / poorly written educational blogging (and educational writing in general), blogs like this are a breath of fresh air. Seth Godin, as an outsider to this world, cuts through the crap quite often.

    This one is also blogworthy:

    http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/02/hunters-and-farmers.html

    Not a MLA-formatted reference in it. Short, insightful, enjoyable. Such a nice change from the stuff I’m reading to get an education tech degree today.

  2. Of course, I meant to say that this blog, as well as Seth Godin’s, are both breaths of fresh air!

  3. @HM: What?! You’re not enjoying reading academia’s idea of fine writing? Shocking, I say! Shocking! =)

    Thanks for including me with Godin. Undeserved, but kind nonetheless!

  4. Thanks for posting, Scott, but many of us read Seth’s blog. We want to know what you think about it!

  5. When I read a typical tome written by an educational professional, I use the Christopher Walken approach to preserve my sanity. When he reads a script, he says he eliminates all punctuation and stage directions. I do that with the author’s footnotes, references, and similar dreary rehashing.

    Thanks for your reply and invoking Claude Rains. Keeping fighting the good fight.

  6. In what way has ‘the economy has rewritten the rules, and smart organizations seek out intelligent problem solvers’? In a lot of discussion about education there is an implicit assumption that we all work for innovative cutting edge companies. But this a very partial experience of the ‘new’ economy, which for many people is low paid low skilled non-unionised and insecure. Education bloggers seem curiously out of touch with the real world of work; and as seduced by the neo-liberal project as any other. Think Amazon, care homes, MacDonalds …

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