Stop Stealing Dreams: Free eBook from Seth Godin

February 27, 2012

in 21st century schools, hot topics, new and noteworthy books

Stop Stealing Dreams Seth Godin

This is something you’re going to be hearing A LOT about, all over the edublogosphere and social media, and even beyond. I hope. Because it’s something that I think every educator needs to read.

We all know that our world and its economy is changing, but school is not. Our system of school is broken. We can’t keep testing kids to death, measuring teacher effectiveness through snippets of isolated data, and educating students in a way that prepares them for rote factory work instead of innovative careers they are passionate about.

Seth Godin is speaking up on behalf of kids through a free eBook he released today. If you are not familiar with Seth, you will love how easy to read and succinct his writing style is. He calls this a 30,000 word manifesto, but it’s broken up into short numbered sections which can be quickly scanned and skimmed.

I haven’t read the entire thing yet, but I feel confident in recommending it because I’ve read so much about Seth’s views on education on his blog and in his other books, and I always find his viewpoints compelling, even when I disagree. Here are a few of my favorite excerpts from “Stop Stealing Dreams” so far:

We don’t ask students to decide to participate. We assume the contract of adhesion, and relentlessly put information in front of them, with homework to do and tests to take. Entirely skipped: commitment. Do you want to learn this? Will you decide to become good at this? The universal truth is beyond question—the only people who excel are those who have decided to do so. Great doctors or speakers or skiers or writers or musicians are great because somewhere along the way, they made the choice. Why have we completely denied the importance of this choice Who will teach bravery?

And:

The essence of the connection revolution is that it rewards those who connect, stand out, and take what feels like a chance. Can risk-taking be taught?  Of course it can. It gets taught by mentors, by parents, by great music teachers, and by life. Why isn’t it being taught every day at that place we send our kids to? Bravery in school is punished, not rewarded. The entire institution is organized around avoiding individual brave acts, and again and again we hear from those who have made a difference, telling us that they became brave despite school, not because of it.

I also love:

The role of the teacher in this new setting is to inspire, to intervene, and to raise up the motivated but stuck student. Instead of punishing great teachers with precise instructions on how to spend their day, we give them the freedom to actually teach…let teachers be teachers again.

Some of his words are painful to read, because they call attention to the huge disservice to our kids that is being done by our current method of schooling. I don’t see it as an attack on teachers; it’s a call to rethink the way our system is being run.  I think most of us as educators would LIKE to have more freedom to inspire students and connect them to their passions; we aren’t able to do this well because we don’t know how to do it within the context of our current textbooks-and-testing school system, and our school leaders don’t share the vision for effective school reform. This book helps alleviate both problems. It calls for a method of schooling that inspires kids to become motivated and courageous life-long learners. And that’s good for kids AND teachers.

Download the full eBook here. Seth’s made it available in PDF, Kindle, ePUB, HTML, and more. He asks that we share it freely. The more people who read this message, the closer we’ll come to creating viable solutions for fixing our education system.

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Angela Watson was a classroom teacher for 11 years and has turned her passion for helping other teachers into a career as an educational consultant based in Brooklyn, NY. As founder of Due Season Press and Educational Services, she has published 3 books, launched a blog and webinar series, designs curriculum resources, and conducts seminars in schools around the world. Subscribe via email for blog updates, exclusive tips & tricks, activities, printables, and more.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jim Randolph February 27, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Thanks for the heads up, but I’ll read it when Mr. Godin gets his teaching certificate and has a few years of classroom work under his belt. Until then, I’ll stick with actual educators for my education gurus. Same goes for Bill Gates. These guys think they know what they’re talking about but I don’t think they always do. Mr. Godin has done some great stuff, don’t get me wrong, but a lot of it comes off to me as koan-like statements that might sound good on a bumper sticker but I’m not sure how deep they go. It misses much of the day-to-day practicalities.

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2 Angela Watson February 27, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Hey, there, Jim, thanks for commenting. I think your points are valid. Hope you’ll consider checking this eBook out, anyway. Sometimes it’s good to hear the perspective of an education outsider.

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3 mo February 27, 2012 at 9:55 pm

I have come across Mr. Godin before through quotes on facebook from a friend who follows his blog. I am intrigued by the blurbs you posted and will give this e-book a whirl. Thanks for sharing the resource.

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4 Devhonn February 28, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Thanks for letting us download the free ebook here..I am sure this will be awesome…Great job for a nice post!

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5 Vanessa February 29, 2012 at 10:25 am

I love this post! I think I really want to share this to people who need this…Thanks!

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6 Krista February 29, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Agree with Jim- sounds like Seth is onto something here but he is no better a voice of authority than the politicians who politick our kids’ education with no background in education to draw from.

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7 Mary Bauer March 4, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Hi Angela,
I finished reading the book last week. Seth Godin may not have taught in the public school, but he has a wide readership, and I feel it is important to read and respond to his ideas. I look forward to continuing the discussion.

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8 brazenteacher April 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Downloaded!

After reading the comments about SG’s lack of teaching experience, I reflected. It’s true he has no experience in education (and neither to do many edu-rhetoricians.) I would be lying if I didn’t say it ticks me off when outsiders posture solutions without consulting the people in the trenches. Usually perspectives from outsiders lack practical relevance, just as a few pointed out above.

Still… just as those outside of education come off as holier-than-thou when composing ed solutions without working alongside those intimately connected with students, teachers commit the very crime they are decrying when they devalue outside perspectives.

We ALL have an investment in the future of education. To assume that those outside of education have nothing of import to contribute to the conversation, is to perpetuate the egocentric crimes we are purporting to hate.

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9 Angela Watson April 23, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Brazen!! Good to hear from you. And strong points, as always. Seth Godin may not have teaching experience, but he has a good sense of perspective on what skills kids will need once they grow up if they are going to thrive in the workplace and in life. He understands the need for people to live their passions and for children to have their interests and talents nurtured. And he has this really amazing way of stating things that makes basic truths sound profound and profound things sound simple

I don’t think this book is the edureform bible, but Seth has got some truly worthwhile contributions to make to the discussions. The fact that he chose to give this book away instead of selling it speaks volumes about his intentions.

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