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Are Our Schools Run By Fools?
Michael J. Herman  -- Mr. Motivation -- The World's Biggest Motivational Force Michael J. Herman -- Mr. Motivation -- The World's Biggest Motivational Force
Granada Hills, CA
Monday, February 8, 2021



Are Our Schools Run By Fools?

By Michael J. Herman

In "Pressure Mounts to Reopen Schools" an article for #TheWallStreetJournal #DanielHenninger  (Feb 3, 2021) discusses the problems with mass home schooling and opening schools for in-person attendance.  Among the issues presented in the article, Henninger reports that enrollment in Los Angeles schools has fallen by nearly half and that parents are tiring of schools being closed. The temperature is consistent nationwide.

Is it really a surprise to anyone that enrollment is so depressed?

Students need engagement. They need not only engagement, but interaction. In this highly digitized world in which this young generation lives, it's all about "Gamification" and on this issue educators and parents widely lose.

Connecting with students today is not rote. It is more intuition and suggestion. Education today has to compete with the digital distractions that constantly bombard the attention. Given the option, children will mentally check out of online learning when other stimuli are offered.

"Learning via Zoom is not the issue" observes Professional Speaker and Thought Leader Lewis Harrison author of Harrison's Applied Game Theory (2017) and       Beyond Thought (2019). "Zoom is just another form of classroom. The problem is forcing kids who are hardwired to learn in a certain way to instead learn by  incompatible methods."

It is estimated that the attention span to persuade in a sales environment is less than 30 seconds and possibly as little as 5. If this is so, how long can students be expected to focus on something seemingly un-relatable and confusing?

"Forcing a student to learn in ways that are not part of their wheelhouse is Learning Cruelty" adds Harrison.

There was a time and it wasn't that long ago when teachers participated and actively took part in the education of their students.  The problem is and has been for some time that children are bored and educators by and large have stopped looking for other doors to open to connect better with young minds.

Enter: GAMES.

Life is not the 1960s-'80s cartoon The Jetsons where kids eagerly sat at computer monitors and learned from remote robotic teachers. Human minds need stimulation. Denying this crucial ingredient is like leaving the burger out of the bun. In other words, "Where's the beef?" As an aside, I'm still waiting for my fully autonomous flying car.

There are different styles of learning: Kinesthetic, Visual, Auditory, and let me please introduce and suggest another… GAME.

Games are to children's learning like electricity is to a light switch. Without it, there's little to no connection.  With millions of Primary through Secondary school age students learning online and from home, the engagement with others and the game play experienced in a school environment is lost.

To claim Gamification over Zoom is difficult is the cop out of a lazy educator.                    #Adaptation is the key. Make the games reward driven and create Leader Boards for the winners. Create urgency to compete and to win. And dare I even suggest it in this highly over sensitive world, allow some kids to lose.

In every game of competition there are winners and there are losers and to remove that fact from educational competition is simply wrong on so many levels.

Parents and educators have not yet learned a way to implement Game Play into Zoom School on an ongoing mass scale. This is astonishing. There are tons of ways to gamify the online educational experience and it's amazing as to why educators are not more creative with our kids' minds on the hook?

Are our schools run by fools?

Chess, Trivial Pursuit, and others like Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Scrabble, The Price Is Right, and Spelling Bee are just a few samples of games that are made for zoom. How about Charades, Concentration, games of strategy and even logic? If educators cannot find ways to better stimulate and challenge young minds in this new educational reality, the future bodes poorly for intellects.

The point that may be getting overlooked is that kids don't care about things and prizes as much as they do with recognition, validation, and status. And if someone seems to consistently fall to the bottom, there's nothing wrong with rigging the system once in a while to keep them in the game. Centuries of evolution prove that the human psyche will do almost anything for recognition and reward.

It's not that hard. All one has to do is actually think like a kid.

Is this that hard!

Yes for adults, but not for kids.

Has anyone asked the students who are not engaging, why, or how to get them to plug in? Students won't easily offer up why they don't engage, but I'll bet dollars to degrees they'll tell you what they like. Hmm, sounds like yet another game worth investigating?

Wait, "Plug in"? Like a game?


Plug in and get electrified.

Plug in and turn on.

Plug in and light up.

Is it easy? No, of course it isn't. But is it worth it?

Yes, of course it is.

If you try to teach a visual learner with auditory techniques, they won't make               the connection.

If you try to teach a visual learner kinesthetically, they won't see the light.

If you try to shove a rectangle into a circle, you'll just get frustrated. So will the shapes.

But if you try to reach any type of learner by making it a game and introduce #challenge, well then, you may have just scored some major points.

What? Major Points? Like in a game? Exactly!

Yes, in games there are losers, but there's always another round.

The lesson is we not roll the dice with our children's educations. Lest we raise an entire generation of illiterate, maladjusted, and gameless young people.

Michael J. Herman is an award winning Speaker, and the author of 14 books. His forthcoming 15th book Side Hustle With Muscles: Stop Putting Your Talents to The Side and Start Your Small Business releases later this year.

Find Michael J. Herman on LinkedIn.com and Facebook.

Please let me know if and how I can be of value.
Michael J. Herman, Speaker-Writer-Author-Entrepreneur
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