Friday, November 23, 2007

The Paradox of Choice

Barry Schwartz presentation at TEDTalks

Are there any implications for education?

1 comment:

Bob McIntire said...

I chose to attend the University Without Walls in Providence, RI. The scope and sequence of learning was my own choice. While I "graduated," the process was not easy. Looking back figure I earned about a C- in instructional design and a C+ in the overall course grade. Perhaps I might have "learned" more and gotten higher grades had I chosen a more conventional approach like a liberal arts college with a prescribed recipe for a diploma.

Had West Virginia University offered me the freedom to choose from a broad selection of courses that would result in a BA, perhaps...just perhaps, I might have been satisfied with that opportunity.

Schwartz says that, key point here, "the secret to happiness is low expectations." Perhaps that might better be stated as "realistic" expectations.

If I can steal another phrase, " You can't always get what you want, but if you take some time, I think you'll find that you get what you need."

We can have "high" aspirations for ourselves and our students. The goals can be high as well. Actual performance might be less than what we had hoped. If we delight in and celebrate the end achievement, knowing full well it isn't what we had hoped for and dreamed of, and use the outcomes to direct further searching and learning in the pursuit of the higher goals, perhaps, just perhaps, will share a more positive experience which can move us forward to greater learning.

The real freedom might not be "school choice, " but the power to help improve the schools we have.