The industrial structure of school demands that we teach things for certain. Testable things. Things beyond question. After all, if topics are open to challenge, who will challenge them? Our students. But students aren’t there to challenge—they are there to be indoctrinated, to accept and obey.
Our new civic and scientific and professional life, though, is all about doubt. About questioning the status quo, questioning marketing or political claims, and most of all, questioning what’s next.
The obligation of the new school is to teach reasonable doubt. Not the unrea- sonable doubt of the wild-eyed heckler, but the evidence-based doubt of the questioning scientist and the reason-based doubt of the skilled debater.Industrial settings don’t leave a lot of room for doubt. The worker on the assembly line isn’t supposed to question the design of the car. The clerk at the insurance agency isn’t supposed to suggest improvements in the accounts being pitched.
In the post-industrial age, though, the good jobs and the real progress belong only to those with the confidence and the background to use the scientific method to question authority and to re-imagine a better reality.
Seth Godin, Stop Stealing Dreams