Thursday, May 31, 2012

Some Stolen Musings About Mastery

Hugh MacLeod is upset with people "fixa­ted on the desi­red RESULT, that they have lost all genuine, inte­llec­tual inte­rest in the actual STEPS that will actually get them there."

According to MacLeod,
The Wall Street ex-fratboy who moves West to Sili­con Valley, not because he gives a damn about tech or inno­va­tion, but because he can smell the gravy. The pain­ter who doesn’t have a sin­gle inte­res­ting idea in his pea-size brain, but just knows he wants a big show in a famous New York Gallery ASAP. The small-town knuc­klehead who moves to Los Ange­les “to become famous”. The guy who signs his life away to a large com­pany because he ima­gi­nes it must be fun to have a big office in a tall building.
They say they are result-focused, when in rea­lity, all they are is reward-focused.
They have no inte­rest in tin­ke­ring with something, eight hours a day, day-in-day-out for deca­des, pur­suing an idea, achei­ving mas­tery. They just want the magic wand. They just want the “bacon”.
MacLeod's analysis applies to corporate ed reformers and political appointees like Melody Schopp who want to give students and teachers and students the "gift" of a testing regime that punishes excellence.

MacLeod also allows one to answer the perennial question about whether education is an art or a science.  At the Core Knowledge Blog, Robert Pondiscio points to a Dan Willingham video in which Willingham asserts "teaching is neither art nor science, but 'somewhere in between.'"

MacLeod's observation allows for an even cleaner answer: it doesn't matter!  The real question is how does one get students to seek and appreciate mastery.  At an Ignite event, MacLeod asserted,
. . . I can honestly say MASTERY is more satisf­ying than money. If you’re up for it, yes, MASTERY MATTERS MORE THAN SUCCESS.
19. And it’s por­ta­ble. It tra­vels with you, whe­re­ver you go. No land­lord, No boss, no sud­den relo­ca­tion, no reces­sion, no Wall Street analyst can take it away. It’s something that truly belongs to you, for always.
20. So when a kid asks me for career advice these days, I tell her, “Don’t worry about money, don’t worry about suc­cess. Worry about Mas­tery– that is something pre­cious you can actually con­trol. And yes, if you’ve achie­ved mas­tery, you’re more likely to be suc­cess­ful and pros­pe­rous, any­way.” Again, MASTERY MATTERS MORE THAN SUCCESS. So go for it. . . .

1 comment:

D.E. Bishop said...

Very thoughtful. I like that concept. I think what you've said her is absolutely true too.

Let's see, who is it who feels truly entitled?