Learning decision-making firsthand

2009 November 2
by Evan Lenz

Factories used to be prime places to work, says Seth Godin, in Tribes (p. 40). The (perceived) safety and security and stability of factory jobs made them attractive. That has changed.

Now, when we envision our dream jobs, we’re imagining someone who reaps huge rewards as a result of her insight. Or someone who has control over what he does all day, creating products or services that he’s actually proud of. It certainly involves having authority over your time and your effort and having input into what you do.

I take heart that my kids are learning these skills and practices early on at our local Sudbury school. They are learning how to make decisions about:

  • what to do with their time, and
  • issues that impact their community

That’s because they’re given the power and responsibility to make both kinds of decisions.

As we move further into an unstable age, students with traditional educational experiences will be at a disadvantage. They will have had little experience making meaningful decisions. They’ve never been given the opportunity to make decisions in a democratic context. And they’ve been allowed very few decisions about what to do with their time. Teachers and government agencies make those decisions for them. They will have to wait until they are out of school before they can start learning those skills by experience.

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