Oregon Quarterly Magazine

Summer 2012

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have aligned their classroom instruction to what is to be tested, students who do not perform well on these tests are considered at-risk and sent to remedial programs, and schools and teachers failing to produce the required test scores are believed to provide low-quality education. This is also why instructional times for arts, music, sports, foreign languages, social studies, and sci- ence have been shortened or eliminated. Lady Gaga proves that such a para- Education should move beyond the paradigm of imparting to our children what government or other authorities deem useful. digm no longer works. In addition to her, the hundreds of TV channels, numerous cooking shows, millions of YouTube videos, and the explosion of jobs that never existed before are just examples of the tremendous expansion of possible ways that the full spectrum of human talents and interests can be useful and valuable. Author Daniel Pink, in his insightful book A Whole New Mind, proposes that traditional overlooked aptitudes—design, story, empathy, play, and meaning—have become essential in the Conceptual Age. I don't think these apti- tudes necessarily make traditionally valued aptitudes (logic, analytic, verbal, and quan- titative) less valuable. Instead, they add to the list of useful and valuable talents and skills. In a similar fashion, the frequently talked-about twenty-first-century skills are another way to suggest that we have arrived T HE MA G A Z I NE OF T HE UN I V E R S I TY OF OR E G O N at an age when society can make use of the broad range of human talents and interests. Thus, education should move beyond the paradigm of imparting to our chil- dren what government or other authori- ties deem useful. Instead, it should work to support every individual student to become successful, help each individual to reach his or her full potential, and encour- age all students to pursue their passion and interests. After all, if Lady Gaga can be useful . . . 7 AP PHOTO–WONG MAYE-E

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