"There's precious little experimentation in education. Instead there seems to be a desire for greater regimentation, which I think is nonsense. I think we need to try 100 different things. If I were Arne Duncan, I'd think of myself as a venture capitalist, fund as many wacky and inventive ideas as I could, and closely monitor them to see how they worked.
I've always been fascinated by the idea that in inner-city schools, the thing they do best is sports. They do really, really well in sports. It's not correct to say these schools are dysfunctional; they're highly functional in certain areas. So I've always wondered about using the principles of sports in the classroom. Go same sex; do everything in teams; have teams compete with each other. I'd like to try that. I don't know whether it will work, but it's certainly worth a shot, and we could learn something really useful."
If you can put them in a structure with incentives, accountability, clear lines of authority, and very tangible goals, most young men will flourish.
But doesn't "structure with incentives, accountability, clear lines of authority, and very tangible goals" pretty much describe a typical classroom, and doesn't a typical classroom suck?
Then yes, but making school into a game where people work together(ie not just alone) you drive accountability, incentives to work, and a very tangible result when the team pulls it together.
My third summer I created a structure where every 5 "first summer" campers would report to 1 "second summer" camper and form a "squad." Every 3 squads then reported to a "third summer" camper and formed a "platoon." The two platoons formed a company and reported to the best third summer camper that week, who reported to the counselors.
Then we pitted the squads against eachother in room inspections, sports, percentage of members who had dates to the weekly dance, shower frequency, all sorts of weird stuff. We collected a crapload of data on the squads and posted it up publicly where they could all track it.
The winning squad each week got a big rock that I painted green. The counselors and I sold it to the campers as an old camp award that had been unfairly forgotten by previous counselors. The squad leader could keep it in his room for the week after his squad won it.
1. The kids worked a lot harder at the things we were grading them on.
2. They spent a lot more time talking to each other and less time talking to the counselors.
3. They generally became more proficient at all of these tasks.
Right. Having kids who are inherently qualified for such-and-such activities.
For many who want go in thinking it will help their prospects as reporters, however, they are disappointed. Several friends went right back into their old newspaper jobs with just a $2-3k raise and a new title. Others spent 6 months to a year writing for free or stringing until they could land a full-time job. Many went into marketing and PR where there are real jobs that pay decently.
It's getting harder and harder to find work as a reporter. meanwhile these schools keep churning out newly minted grads who think having a bunch of clips will be enough. It's worrisome.
How many journalists do you know who would look at a successful blog like iCanHazCheeseburger and say: "I should raise some money from friends and family, buy that blog, and then build a media empire out of similar blogs that I buy up."
If he says he doesn't know why his blogs are successful, it'd because he knows his former colleagues eat that stuff up during interviews and it makes for a funny story.
While luck undoubtedly played a part in his success so far, he was thinking about things entrepreneurially unlike most journalists who are just looking for the next paycheck.
Also, the fact that traffic across his sites has grown since he bought them shows he's a smart manager of his properties.
The second half of that sentence is important. He's saying learn a subject that most people don't know, and write about that. That's a different message than the implications from just saying "Don't go to journalism programs."
The difference between a lede (from a quote) and a shortened tweet, I guess.
Gladwell to aspiring journalists: Become an expert first, then write
I can tolerate him, because he's not obnoxious about his writings (versus somebody like Cory Doctorow, who has a similar ratio of popularity-to-understanding), but at the same time a lot of what he says has got to be taken with a grain of salt.
That's good but I'm afraid my edit clock ran out.
In this case, the given title wasn't good. So I tried to pick out the primer that led to my saying: "That's interesting". But admittedly I won't spend more than a few seconds thinking about the title. I'm just not too worried about accuracy so long as it's in the general semantic ballpark. I'd say if it leads to an incomplete impression which the article resolves then I'm okay with it. That's why I added the ellipse.
Sorry, I'll try to do better but I'll probably fail. The bookmarklet makes it easy to just throw up interesting stuff. The title for me is simply a shorthand for saying: This was interesting to me. I similarly interpret upvotes - this was interesting to the community. Comments start to get at accuracy - kind of.
To be honest though, even as Gladwell says that second part, it seems to me he wants real world experience informing journalism. I think that's the most interesting bit. Grad school, it seems to me, is itself sheltered from "real" stories. That's my current bias, I guess.
I submit that is the best solution.