In spite of the system

We have to be careful to recognize when people thrive in spite of the system, rather than because of it.

A+ students don’t become great problem solvers because of the system. They become great problem solvers on their own time, often outside of the system. Yet so frequently we cite false correlations. The high performers are happy, fulfilled and successful not because they had a high GPA, but because they’re self-motivated, independent-thinking, growth-mindset people. Those traits aren’t taught in school. In fact most of the time they are are suppressed.

Motivation is often about a number like class rank or a grade rather than innate desire to learn.

Independent thinking can get you in trouble on any standardized assessment.

Growth-mindset is the capacity and belief that one can continuously learn and improve. Growth mindset breaks down barriers and pushes learning beyond a unit, a test, or a paper.

The system is the system and people will be people. Just because good people come out of the system doesn’t mean the system worked.