Manifesto: Stop Stealing Dreams
Seth Godin has written an very interesting (and free) manifesto about the US school system (though the birth of Canada school system is very similar in origin): Stop Stealing Dreams. The book is very well written and will take only a few evening to get through.
Many instances had me stop reading and ponder. The example of LEGO (item 51 in the book) is something me, friends and colleagues have been discussing for a while; it is the concept of pre-made LEGO model which comes with instructions. It removes much of the creative process and turns the fun of doing LEGO into a purely technical step-by-step process. Generic LEGO are clearly missing (not to say that the new LEGO cannot be fun).
Similarly, I found more than often very bright students finishing their undergrad studies with extremely good grades but in a situation where they are unable to to function in graduate school because the “questions” are not given to them: they now have to ask their own questions and also find the answers. These students had become extremely proficient at performing on “imposed” questions with very clear answers such as exams, finals and so on, but are lost when they have to tackle a much less rigid projects (e.g. a PhD thesis).