As usual, George Couros has written or posted something that really has me thinking. If you haven’t read the Innovators Mindset, get it on the list. If you don’t follow him on Twitter, do so right away. If you are not on Twitter, please buy a passport into this century and crawl out from under that rock. George consistently posts something that tests my current beliefs and has me questioning my role as an educator. Today, on Twitter, Geroge posted this article from Inc. titled “5 Unusual Facts About Google’s Odd (and Wildly Successful) Management Practices” https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/5-inside-secrets-from-googles-unusual-management-p.html.
I had heard each of the practices before. The 5th practice always sticks out to me and today it really made me stop and think. The 5th practice is:
“When hiring, G.P.A’s and test scores don’t matter”
OK, I get that Google isn’t the be all, end all, and we shouldn’t transform all we do to fit the pattern of one company. I do think that as educators we need to constantly be looking at how the world is changing and we owe it to our students to adjust with the times. We are no longer preparing students for jobs on assembly lines or working in solitary cubicles. I think we need to ask ourselves some questions as educators based on that thought and the quote that went with it,
Relying heavily on data crunching, Bock told The New York Times a few years back that G.P.A.’s and test scores are worthless as a criteria for hiring, unless you’re an entry-level grad. They found that they don’t predict anything. As Bock tells The Times, “after two or three years, your ability to perform at Google is completely unrelated to how you performed when you were in school, because the skills you required in college are very different. You’re also fundamentally a different person. You learn and grow, you think about things differently.” Consequently, it’s not uncommon to find 14 percent of some Google teams made up of people who’ve never attended college.
There are times where I think the world of education can learn a lot from the business world. It doesn’t mean that grades don’t matter. It doesn’t mean that earning a high G.P.A. is irrelevant. It does mean we should consider and question why Google would have this mindset. Here were the questions I immediately posed to myself:
1. How do we as educators balance the focus on curriculum and the process of learning for students? I think our focus is too often “preparing a student for the next grade” when growing a lifelong learner who understands and enjoys the learning process comes secondary.
2. Am I doing my part of preparing students for what exists beyond high school/college?
3. What is our duty as educators? With so many outcomes and goals, how do we continue to adjust to a moving target?
That led me back to my core, my beliefs, and what must take priority. If I had to go to battle for the 3 things I wanted a student to leave our school with, they would be:
1. Help students to become better people. This will be #1. Always. Help populate the Earth with better humans. Nothing is more important
2. Create collaborative problem solvers
3. Cultivate lifelong learning with an emphasis on an ability to reflect, persist, and adjust during the learning process
The beauty of a Sunday in July. George and Google really had me thinking. I reflected. I thought. I grew.