I read this article by the New York Times about the skills Google looks for in their candidates. Here's what I thought about whether I was preparing my students for a job in the classroom and my feelings on the philosophies expressed in the article more generally:
I really enjoyed this article and I’m now thinking how I can better prepare students to get a job at Google. I work to get students to think about things in different perspectives a lot. I say, “how would you feel if you were ___ in this situation? And what about if you were _____?” This speaks to the “pulling info from various sources.” I agree with their basic philosophies, although some of the skills seem very difficult to teach in class. I agree that teaching ownership is important, and this can be done easily. I would give students challenging work, but allow them choice among different projects. With this, they complete something that they wanted to do, and they can be proud of the result, as opposed to: “here are some questions you’ll need to answer by the end of the unit.” They would not be proud nor take ownership in that. I hadn’t considered how to teach leadership before. I use a lot of group projects in my classroom, and I assumed students would learn leadership naturally from this setup. However, I realize that this may not be true, as particular students may always end up being the leader. In my class, I would have to assign students roles to ensure that all students get a chance to be the leader. The last good skill the article mentions is knowing when to back down, and when to be assertive. I’ve always wanted to organize a debate or socratic seminar and this is an optimal way to have students know to back down or be assertive. If the opposing side in the debate has some fact they didn't know, like the article mentions, then they may back down. Or they may press on. In any case, it’s great mental exercise for them and they are building their cognitive abilities, making them better suited for working at Google.