Drucker on teaching, pt. 2

This video must have been taken near the end of Peter Drucker‘s almost 96 years (he died in 2005), but he makes some lucid statements about what is happening in education because of the computer.

Assuming you’ll find the long pauses he takes irksome, let me transcribe his main points (emphasis added):

  •  The single largest area of knowledge work happens to be teaching. And the last change in teaching was 550 years ago in the 15th century when the printed book came in. We are still teaching in the same way, and it’s very ineffectual.
  • My grandchild, who is computer literate, …was completely computer literate before she could read. She is going to force us to change teaching radically. Because she is changing learning. She has no trouble in getting access to the Internet. She has no trouble using the computer, the information machine. When it first came in, everybody looked at it as a big and fast adding machine. And my first contribution … in 1947, was to say “no, it’s an information machine.” And everybody thought that was crazy, that it was an adding machine. And for a very long time that’s what most people used it for [that]. Maybe the Japanese were the first to use it as an information machine.  And today that 8-year old uses that information machine much to the despair of her teachers. The teachers don’t know how to handle that 8-year old. “What do you do?”
  • I had a student of mine, a very able young woman, who teaches 3rd grade. Loves it, but is totally overwhelmed by those 8-year olds who come to class with a laptop. And how do you teach them? Because those kids check what she’s saying, and say, “Teacher, that ain’t true. This is what the Internet tells me.”  And they cannot multiply. They don’t have to. The computer multiplies.

Since Drucker died, over the last six years, American public schools have been dealing with Drucker’s grandsire only somewhat successfully.  Most elementary schools don’t have the funds or the will to put Internet into kids’ hands and let it power learning.  Instead, electronic devices are banned from schools, and kids come to see the place as increasingly irrelevant, a place where archaic skills and curious forms of slow learning are promulgated.

Alas, the main knowledge workers in the USA are still highly ineffectual at doing their jobs.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: