Sporting Clays, Todd Rose, and Standardization

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As we sought the best school for our boys and tried to pinpoint our dissatisfaction with the current school model, one of the most influential and eye opening things we watched was Todd Rose’s TED Talk (Thanks to Elizabeth Hodgson of Hodgson Educational Consulting for that recommendation)…but I’ll come back to Todd Rose in a minute.

Last week I was on spring break with our family in the mountains and we stayed at a vibrant property that offered lots of outdoor activities. One of them was sporting clays, something I’d never tried before, and I decided to give it a go with our two oldest sons. Sporting clays is a form of clay pigeon shooting, often described as “golf with a shotgun” because a typical course includes from 10 to 15 different shooting stations laid out over natural terrain.

When choosing a shotgun for our round, the staff decided it would be easiest for our group to all share a .410 gauge gun because of the mix of kids and adults. I know nothing about shotguns, so I simply smiled and headed for the golf carts that would take us onto the course.

At about the third station our awesome guide Hayden said something that resonated with me after having watched the Todd Rose video and thought extensively about school today.

Hayden was giving me slightly different instruction and guidance than our boys as it related to effectiveness with the gun and hitting our targets. He may have seen me give him a curious look and then he said this: “That’s the thing with a .410, they are standardized so that a wide range of people could use it, but it’s not really perfect or best for anybody.”

I refrained from high-fiving him and saying, “That’s what we think of education today!” and instead I focused on hitting the next clay target.

We believe that all children are unique, special, and gifted with a calling that will change the world. If you want to learn more about the genesis and failures of standardization in education, check out Todd Rose’s TED Talk now!