Is the school system working? No, according to Tod Maffin of Vancouver, a leading communications expert, and keynote speaker at the Mighty Peace Teachers’ Convention last Thursday. Although Maffin said he doesn’t have an intimate knowledge of school systems, he spoke as an employer, and said the current system is killing the future of education.
He compares it to the Rock Tumbler educational toy. The toy creates polished, rounded rocks from jagged stones. He believes through this process, the rocks lose their uniqueness.
He said the school system in its current form doesn’t cater to independent learning. “Students learn enough math to balance a pocket book, enough history to play Trivial Pursuit, and enough English to communicate,” he said. “Turn by turn, day by day, the rock is scraped…the real stone is scraped away.”
As an employer, he looks for the “jagged rocks,” not the jack-of-all-trades, but the ones who are highly specialized. “I look for people who can do one thing they know extraordinarily well,” he said. “We need more rocks with sharp edges.”
Despite his success in radio production and web development, he said the government sees him as a failure because he dropped out of high school. He was frustrated he couldn’t learn what interested him, and spent his days at libraries learning on his own instead, and later graduating from university.
According to Maffin, industries are looking for highly-specialized people. Gone are the days of being hired in the mailroom and working up for 30 years to a managerial position.