Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Podcast257: Natural Learning – What Schools Don’t Do by Steve Wycoff

This podcast is a recording of a presentation by Steve Wycoff on June 12, 2008, titled “Natural Learning – What Schools Don’t Do” at the Trends, Tools, and Tactics for 21st Century Learning conference in Wichita, Kansas. TTT is sponsored by ESSDACK, the Educational Services and Staff Development Association of Central Kansas in Hutchinson. The official program description for this session was: How we learn naturally is far different than how we are taught in schools. If we are going to succeed in actually leaving no child behind, we’ll need to understand better how individuals learn and more importantly how schools will need to look to accommodate the learning needs we all have. We’ll also demonstrate what curriculum might look like in a learning environment designed for the way we learn naturally. We’ll also connect this new learning environment to the needs we are experiencing in society related to workforce readiness. Be prepared to have your thinking stretched 🙂


Show Notes:

  1. Blog of Steve Wycoff
  2. Podcast142: Rethinking Teaching: How Online Learning Can and Should Completely Alter Your View of Education (Roger C. Schank)
  3. Changing Schools: A conversation with Roger Schank
  4. Roger Shank (WikiPedia article)
  5. Socratic Arts (Roger Shank website)
  6. Educational Services and Staff Development Association of Central Kansas (ESSDACK)
  7. Trends, Tools, and Tactics for 21st Century Learning Conference
  8. My text notes from Steve’s presentation
  9. Charles Eliot Norton (WikiPedia entry)

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8 responses to “Podcast257: Natural Learning – What Schools Don’t Do by Steve Wycoff”

  1. Ron H Avatar
    Ron H


    Thanks for recording and publishing this talk with Steve Wycoff. I really wish that our leaders here in Michigan would stop making political decisions about student’s learning and focus on what Steve talks about – learning about what will make them employable in the future, and making our students into thinkers and creators.

    I listened to the podcast on my ‘morning thinking walk’. My walk is normally 30-minutes, but because of you, I had to take an extra loop to finish the podcast. Thanks for the extra calorie burn!


  2. Wesley Fryer Avatar

    You are most welcome, Ron. I do have 5 more recordings from the TTT conference and hope to get most or all of them published later this week. Steve’s message is compelling. I’ve been thinking about “expectation failures” and how that fits into learning ever since!

  3. J. Edwards Avatar

    I will be blogging over the summer — hope you all will check out what we’ve doing successfully for eight years!

  4. Dean Mattson Avatar

    Thank you for sharing this session. I was very impressed and tried to get down my thought on it on my blog:

    Does anyone know which research he was referring to when he said there is NO correlation between grades and success in life? I found that part a little hard to believe. Maybe he meant to say there’s a HIGHER correlation between extracurricular activities and success in life than the one that exists for grades.

  5. Wesley Fryer Avatar

    I asked him that question during the session, Dean, and he responded with some names of researchers, I don’t think I wrote them down though… Give Steve a call or shoot him an email and I’m sure he’d be willing to share those sources. My ears pricked up at that as well… If you find out please let me know!

  6. Dean Mattson Avatar

    I wrote to Dr. Wyckoff (I also found out he has a K in his last name) about his statement that there is no correlation between grades and later success in life:

    “Do you have any attribution for that? I would think that people in groups that are generally considered to be successful (doctors, lawyers, business leaders) would have had higher grades on average than people in groups that are considered to be unsuccessful (unskilled workers, people in prison.)”

    He replied:

    “While you are exactly correct you have identified a really small percentage of successful people. We graduate hundreds of thousands of kids who get poor grades and are bored and disinterest but become very successful in life.”

    He included these quotes:

    “Thomas Stanley has not only found no correlation between success in school and an ability to accumulate wealth, he’s actually found a negative correlation. ‘It seems that school-related evaluations are poor predictors of economic success,’ Stanley concluded. What did predict success was a willingness to take risks. Yet the success-failure standards of most schools penalized risk takers. Most educational systems reward those who play it safe. As a result, those who do well in school find it hard to take risks later on.” —Richard Farson & Ralph Keyes, Whoever Makes the Most Mistakes Wins

    88% of dropouts had passing grades. – The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Dropouts report

    71% of students surveyed said they do the bare minimum to get by in schools. – Center for Education Reform. “The American Education Diet: Can U.S. Students Survey on Junk Food.”

    I’d like to see more before I’m convinced on this point. Even so, this takes nothing away from Dr. Wyckoff’s larger point that something is seriously wrong with our schools (our high schools in particular) and they very much need to be rethought.