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Rethinking the Classroom - Educating Hunters and Farmers

Words and ideas lifted from Seth Godin and Thom Hartmann.

Godin is the author of Tribes, which I can highly recommend.


10,000 years ago, civilization forked.

Farming was invented and the way people spent their time was changed forever.

Farming is a very different activity from hunting. Farmers spend time working and planning and worrying. They worry about the weather. They make smart choices about seeds and breeding.

Hunters, on the other hand, spend an awful lot of time just watching and waiting. And waiting and watching. With occasional moments of distraction. And brief periods of frenzied panic.

Some people are better at one activity than another. And then tend to approach life rather differently as a result. Farmers like meetings and plans. Hunters want to try stuff and see what happens.

Farmers want to avoid epic failure. Hunters want a high-stakes mission. Farmers like Facebook. Hunters like Google.

Traditional schooling doesn't really suit Hunters. A child who has innate hunting skills is easily distracted, because noticing small movements in the landscape is exactly what you'd need to do if you were hunting.

Scan and scan and scan and scan and POUNCE.

In school, you'll find that same distracted child can drop everything and focus like a laser - when it matters.

The "farmer", on the other hand, is particularly good at tilling the fields of endless homework problems, each one a bit like the other. Just don't ask him to change gears instantly.

Of course, forcing "hunters" to sit quietly in a school designed to teach farming doesn't make a lot of sense.

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