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“In an age when innovation is increasingly a group endeavor, it [Google] also cares about a lot of soft skills–leadership, humility, collaboration, adaptability, and loving to learn and re-learn. This will be true no matter where you go to work.” Thomas Friedman

~George Couros 

The Innovator’s Mindset
–Tara Martin IMMOOC

One of my personal favorites – “The best surprise is no surprise” – from an old hotel ad. And getting there takes “a lot of soft skills–leadership, humility, collaboration, adaptability, and loving to learn and re-learn” whether it is a great hotel experience, a high tech job of tomorrow or education throughout time.

Interestingly, in my dealing with middle school kids and college undergrads, some of these soft skills are conspicuous by their absence. These kids are going to have to become very good at the “re-learn” skill in a hurry.

What happens to these kids? Where are their interests and passion? Will they get through school with their current “this isn’t interesting to me so I’m not going to learn about it. I would rather play video games everyday in class rather than take advantage of this opportunity to learn something that I might like or that will be useful at some time in the future” attitude? Or “What do I have to do to get a A?” and  “I won’t work in a group because it might affect my grade.” This makes me sad, angry and frustrated. What a waste.

Is it fear of risk? What’s missing? How can kids get to this state? Where did their kindergarten curiosity go? What can we do to help them regain that wonder and thrill of self-directed exploration? In short, how will they get ready for “real life” beyond “school”?

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