Throughout history educational systems have encouraged like thinking and like ways of work aka “the norm.” There have been those, however, who thrived with the mentality of thinking outside the norm. For many, this mentality was the right choice and produced intrinsically motivated history makers, such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Ayn Rand, Henry Ford, Walt Disney, and Steve Jobs. As any glimpse into history may show, outside the norm thinking has contributed the most significant contributions to society.
The rank and file of employed and unemployed workers today is a product of educational systems. Current unemployment rates should prompt review of the shift in education over the past 50 years to see why unemployment rates have reached such staggering heights.
In the early 1900s, emphasis placed teaching ethics, responsibility, independence, self-care, citizenship, mastery of the three R’s, encouragement of worthy human relationships, and how to make a living most important. The shift reveals classrooms where major emphasis is on reading, test taking, and alignment with a norm. Little to no time is spent on the development of critical thinking, creative thinking, rational thinking, or the development of aligned mental processes needed to adapt and prosper in an ever-changing work environment. Attainment of these skills set in motion the survival skills needed to make it when working as an employee is not an option. Unfortunately, extrinsic motivation determines future paths and intrinsic motivation is not encouraged.
Today’s curriculum must reflect children’s current and future needs, placing strong emphasis on molding intrinsic values that will enable youth to thrive as independent adults.