As a 20 year old currently going through the university system and having just completed the HSC after 12 years of schooling, there are only two things that stand out to me: that I still see no value in 90% of the content that I learnt at school, and that despite this, according to the ATAR system, I am apparently smarter than 90% of the students my age. What do I have to show for it? A basic understanding and a will to address the world’s problems, but absolutely no confidence in my ability to do so.

The single thing that sets humanity apart from every other species in the animal kingdom is our ability to communicate and interact with each other - an ability that the internet and the process of globalisation are rapidly accelerating. So how then does it make sense that our entire economy and education system is ENTIRELY GROUNDED UPON SELF-INTEREST AND COMPETITION? The world and its problems are now the biggest they have ever been, and they are only going to get bigger if we limit the perspective of future generations. IN REGARDS TO IMPLEMENTATION, we need a schooling system that is flexible enough that a cohort of school leavers could become a company. We need a school system where GROUP WORK IS PRIORITISED, and in which the skills of students are known, utilised, and respected, NOT a system that isolates students from each other and asks them all to ‘find x’. We need subjects that are taught WITH THE PRIMARY OBJECTIVE of understanding and solving the worlds problems, not subjects that are packed with compartmentalised regurgitated content. We need a schooling system that properly utilises the availability of the internet in an inter-connected world, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, we need a schooling system that promotes collaboration rather than competition. Luckily THERE IS ALREADY SOMETHING BEING DONE that could provide a framework for these changes: the Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation at UTS, which is a degree UNLIKE ANY OTHER IN THE WORLD that places emphasis on group work, lateral thinking, and which works with clients such as the City of Sydney to solve real-world issues. In terms of VALUE FOR MONEY, the changes that have been presented mainly involve a structural and ideological shift, the cost of which could be more than offset by the increased efficiency and entrepreneurial ambition of young innovators. The horizon for innovation is limitless, and we should pursue it with ambition!

user picture Matt Byers · 2 years ago · 75 votes · 11 comments
user_image
The concept here is what is powerful and others have, or are discovering this. Several top US MBA schools are adjusting their approach to have their students gain experience of working in teams. They are seeking internships for their students that give them experiences inside large corporations that operate with dedicated cross function teams. US business is beginning to realise that teams are where the power is to solve complex multi-disciplinary problems and generate innovative methods for accomplishing timely work deliverables. As an executive with leadership experience in a company across 30 to 40 teams multi-disciplinary, dedicated and sometimes co-located teams to bring focus to a single drug development project my observation is this works and works better than the conventional functional silos seen in so many companies. Creating this capability and building this expectation before students hit the workforce would be a real plus. The US is onto this but Europe and Japan lag way behind deploying the typical functional models of operation. Australia could leapfrog if just our leading schools adopted this approach. Get the leaders to lead!!
Bryce Carmine · 2 years ago
user_image_from_facebook
A bit of debate is happening off-site, Matt and I know each other.. Matt has said to me: 'I think school does a fantastic job of teaching critical thinking and understanding, but what it lacks is a way of teaching people how to translate this ability into an ability to innovate or think laterally.' I then said: 'Okay I see now, it hasn't really worked for you. For me, I can totally see the positive uses of any piece of knowledge and can make those lateral connections. Maybe we just aren't built the same. I do not think you need to be able to do this, you're better at other things, but you just need to know how to identify those people who can and would be happy to help you make those connections. So we could educate students to help them identify the type of person they are and to identify the holes in their own way of thinking. Maybe creative thinking isn't just trying to understand how other people think, because we can't really do that fully, but to know who to turn to when you've identified that hole in your personality.'
Marcus Newton · 2 years ago
user_image_from_facebook
Group work is very good for extroverted thinkers, I believe I'm personally quite capable of solving many conceptual problems on my own in my own quiet space. There are many different personalities, and nearly all of them actually DO contribute to humanity as best as they can. Yes there are a handful who usually never give a stuff about the world, but the trick is not to keep ridiculing them, attempting to 'inspire' them or strongly forcing them to have to care. No no no, the trick is to *exploit* their process of selfishness, make them unknowingly work for you to better the world. It's an interesting concept you've brought up, that's for sure!
Marcus Newton · 2 years ago
user_image_from_facebook
Collaboration is what makes communities. Group work and trans-disciplinary practice are designed to complement the skills and the abilities of individuals. Yes you may be capable of solving many conceptual problems on your own. However it is the human ability to communicate and work cohesively that has helped our species overcome obstacles. So whilst respecting the skills, talents and personalities of individuals it is also necessary to keep thinking oriented towards collective prosperity. For what are we without community ?
Hector Titterton · 2 years ago
user_image_from_facebook
A key factor Matt has left out is to encourage awareness and self reflection about our anthropcentrism and the negative impact of having an individually orientated perspective. Global outcomes (ecologically oriented) and human outcomes ( outcomes for our species) are a necessary transformation in perspectival thinking. As it is the basic ideology of "individual prosperity" that was the causation of all conflict, inequality and exploitation throughout history.
Hector Titterton · 2 years ago
user_image_from_facebook
Well I already disagree with you Matt, watch this video: https://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts I DON'T DISAGREE with what you're trying to do, its completely ideal to get all students most effectively helping humanity in the best way that works, but your suggestions like ALL GROUP WORK and SOLVING ALGEBRAIC EQUATIONS DOES NOTHING are not going to get many people taking you seriously. The real ideal is getting all students most effectively helping humanity in the best way that works **FOR THEM**.
Marcus Newton · 2 years ago
user_image_from_facebook
Well I already disagree with you Matt, I literally shared this video on the BCII page just the other day: https://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts Please watch it! I also don't disagree with what you're trying to do, its completely ideal to get all students most effectively helping humanity in the best way that works, but your suggestions like ALL GROUP WORK and SOLVING ALGEBRAIC EQUATIONS DOES NOTHING are not going to get many people taking you seriously. The real ideal is getting all students most effectively helping humanity in the best way that works **FOR THEM**.
Marcus Newton · 2 years ago
user_image_from_facebook
Totally agree high school and universities are not preparing students with job ready skills. The gap between academics and the real world is bigger than the Grand Canyon. Let's teach some practical life and job ready skills.
Stuart Snyder · 2 years ago
user_image
Hi Nicholas, I completely agree with your sentiments in regard to the importance of basic knowledge for any individual in gaining a well-rounded and practical understanding of any field. I should stress that I believe the changes that could be made in making the education system more efficient do not involve a removal or minimisation of content, but rather the teaching of such being directed and focused towards real-world problems and applications, or perhaps the ADDITION of a new subject that allows for thinking to be taught, or a cross-over of skills and content learned in different fields to be applied to case-studies or problems? Also, how can we have a world of well-rounded people who can relate to everyone around them and recognise and understand their problems if the purpose of our education system is to give every student a number and test their ability by the same method? Yes the ability to understand and deconstruct is the basis for any constructive thought, but it is ridiculous to assume that these things will translate into creativity without the right platform. I do concede that it is difficult for me to genuinely consider how the system relates to someone other than myself, but I feel that I, like every other student in high school, saw many of my friends plateau and lose interest in their passions because the system demanded a way of thinking that was incongruous with their talents. The education system doesn't need a shake up, it needs to be fine tuned and dealt with constructively, and though I am passionate about it I completely understand the fact that I don't have all the answers, and I'm grateful for your opinion!
Matt Byers · 2 years ago
user_image
Hello Matt, you have some very valid comments on the system and how it relates to you but you have to consider people who are not like you. You are quite correct that the internet has to be used in a more intelligent way. It must be focussed to allow the student access to positive information and not the gratuitous site as some students are not as focussed as you. Firstly, some students in groups will lean on the abilities of others and not learn as much as if they were working it through themselves. There has to be a balance of group and individual work. Secondly, if the basics and a well-rounded education are not taught in pre-college years you can end up with, for example, and Economist who cannot do maths and is limited by it. (I know one), a dietician who doesn't know how the body works, (there are many), researchers whose training has been so focussed that they cannot relate their work to the greater world or even to other related disciplines, and so be guided by them, or politicians who do not know how anything works except their al........, etc., etc., etc. We want a world of well-rounded people who can relate to everyone around them and recognise and understand their problems. Some of these will be the well focussed like yourself. The problem is how to satisfy the needs of all and it is a problem that the educationalists have been wrestling with for well over a century. They haven't got it right yet but maybe you can help them. Good Luck, whatever you do.
Nicholas Howe · 2 years ago
user_image
Hi Nicholas, I completely agree with your sentiments in regard to the importance of basic knowledge for any individual in gaining a well-rounded and practical understanding of any field. I should stress that I believe the changes that could be made in making the education system more efficient do not involve a removal or minimisation of content, but rather the teaching of such being directed and focused towards real-world problems and applications, or perhaps the ADDITION of a new subject that allows for thinking to be taught, or a cross-over of skills and content learned in different fields to be applied to case-studies or problems? Also, how can we have a world of well-rounded people who can relate to everyone around them and recognise and understand their problems if the purpose of our education system is to give every student a number and test their ability by the same method? Yes the ability to understand and deconstruct is the basis for any constructive thought, but it is ridiculous to assume that these things will translate into creativity without the right platform. I do concede that it is difficult for me to genuinely consider how the system relates to someone other than myself, but I feel that I, like every other student in high school, saw many of my friends plateau and lose interest in their passions because the system demanded a way of thinking that was incongruous with their talents. The education system doesn't need a shake up, it needs to be fine tuned and dealt with constructively, and though I am passionate about it I completely understand the fact that I don't have all the answers, and I'm grateful for your opinion!
Matt Byers · 2 years ago
People who voted for this idea
Mary Nolan Parth Gulati Grace lynch Dimitar Berberu Helen Fairweather Virginia Lin Orson Heidrich Hayley Cooke Henry Mason Remi Duracher Hector Titterton louise eckersley Bryce Carmine Viveka Weiley Hannah Sophia Corbett Nick Rouen Brendan Alting james bamford Bran Acheson Max Bedding Steven Crow Matt Byers Sam Shipway James Gutteridge Marcus Newton