Friday, June 8, 2012

Teachers Need To Understand Godin's Heirarchy

Seth Godin asks those "selling a product or service to a business--to a non-owner" to consider the following hierarchy. The list is ordered with the primary needs on top.
  • Avoiding risk
  • Avoiding hassle
  • Gaining praise
  • Gaining power
  • Having fun
  • Making a profit
Godin asserts:
. . . a sales pitch that begins with how much money the organization will make is pretty unlikely to work. Instead, the amount of profit has to be tied in to one of the other more primary needs of the person sitting across the table from you (as well as the committee or boss she reports to).
Godin's analysis applies to current education situations on three levels.

At the most basic, students in the classroom have a similar hierarchy.  Granted, they don't get paid, but they are risk averse.  They may view school as a hassle, but appreciate the efforts to eliminate unnecessary hassles like repetitive homework.  I'm unsure about the wisdom of giving freshmen "power" but they need "autonomy."

On the ed reform level, South Dakota's HB 1234 and nearly every other effort I've read about seem premised on the belief that giving teachers a small chance to earn a little extra money justifies condemning them, increasing their risks and hassles, and reducing their autonomy, thereby making the job less fun. The reformers then feign shock that teachers resist merit pay.

Finally, at the larger societal level, the current crop of self-appointed reformers understand how to use the concept of reducing risk to sell their ideology.  Americans will put up with the hassles, insults, lost dignity, boredom, and expense of airport security with relatively minor complaints because these affronts are in the interest of national security.  To tap into that sentiment, some education reformers assert that public education is a threat to national security.

Teachers have used Bloom's for decades.  In the current climate, mastering Godin's may be more important both in and out of the classroom.

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