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Business - Written by on Tuesday, October 21, 2008 10:38 - 3 Comments

If the early bird always gets the worm…

What’s left for those who start their day at 10am?

It seems that a quick way to get the public talking about much needed educational reform may be as simple as pushing back the time of the morning bell.

This week, Toronto’s English language public school board, the TDSB, announced that at least one local high school, Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute, will be starting classes later than ever next September – 10 am – in order to better accommodate students’ learning patterns, biological development and evolving lifestyle demands (such as part-time evening employment).  As you can imagine, the announcement has been met with vocal reaction - both for and against - but one of the most unfortunate side effects to come from the decision has been the amount of generational bias and “in my day” attitude that seems to have emerged against Net Generation students. 

A few choice comments left on The Toronto Star‘s (one of Canada’s largest newspapers) article follow below:

When the cart drives the horse

Why just start classes at 10:00 to accomodate the teenagers? We should adopt other accomodations: teach Facebook instead of Math, play Warcraft instead of studying literature and teach “chilling” instead of Science? Now, seriously, the teenagers have their world and their fun stuff but it is the education system who should teach them values, not the other way around. – petrache

 Discipline is the Difference

I have probably seen 10,000 CV’s, 2.000 interviews and hired 800 people in my career. I have absolutely no time for applicants who demonstrate a lack of discipline. In fact, I seek out evidence of poor self discipline. Most of the employers I know do the same thing. Eastern Commerce is certainly on my DNH (Do Not Hire) list! – Herschell Hollywood

 Work to be done

The work should be done when it is required, not when you feel like working. Due to a deadline of monday, I will be working until the work is done. I do not particularly want to work right now and it is not my optimal work time, but I will work to meet my deadline. This was required when I went to high school, college and university and served me well in the first few years after school when my company (a tech startup in the 90s) loaded me with more work than I could really handle. Deadlines were set and many times my work day started at 7 am, ended at 2am and it was not uncommon for the office to be full in the middle of a Saturday night. My wife (working today) had similar experiences both earlier in her career and now and would tell you (as HR) that informing your manager that it is inconvenient to start early will not get you ahead. This is one reason that I resent so many people who complain about the wealthy.  – Expat in the USA

While I don’t propose to be an expert on adolescent mental health and development, based on my personal experience and nGenera’s research on the Net Generation in the workforce and next generation education delivery, I think it may be time for more Boards to investigate alternative learning strategies, such as the one proposed for Eastern C.I..  A number already have a similar late start system in place and I am encouraged by the Toronto Board’s willingness to experiment with the standard 9am – 3pm day. 

Is 10am – 4pm definitely the right answer?  Likely not, but it presents students with another option, and those who choose to embrace the offering will hopefully be the ones who need it the most – not to surf Facebook for an extra hour in the evening, or to stay up later playing WOW as many opponents fear will happen, but rather to work their part-time job, or even simply to get that extra hour of sleep that so many of us, young and old, crave. (Let alone the benefits that can come from adept Internet usage or the skills that can be gained from MMORPG)

Are we failing our next generation by allowing for a later start, when so many of us have already been at work for number of hours?  Does this mean we’re pushing back “adulthood” and the need to just get used to early morning starts?  Maybe “adulthood” as defined by just learning to deal with it is being delayed - but is that such a bad thing?  Nobody has proposed shorter days, just ones that are rearranged to harness students’ proposed maximum potential. 

I guess only time will tell the merits of the late start for Eastern C.I., but one thing is for sure – having all classes start at 9 am or earlier simply because that’s the way it’s always been done, doesn’t make sense -particularly to the Net Generation, known for their scrutiny of information and who will enter a workforce that features increasingly flexible work arrangements.  I imagine the flexible work day faced similar criticism when it was first proposed, but that seems to be working out just fine (read: one of the fastest growing and most sought after employment trends) for many.

I think Herschell Hollywood might miss out on some top talent with such a brazen attitude, but hey, with 000s of resumes still to go, I’m sure he’ll be fine…unless he ever needs to hire one of those undisciplined Net Geners.


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Dan Thornton
Oct 21, 2008 16:38

Funnily enough, working in London quite often means a 10am start for many large companies, as a way of avoiding fighting through the rush hour every morning!

I actually found that easier, personally, as I’m not a morning person – and as I tend to work at home into the night quite a lot as it’s a time when I get think about projects without being distracted by other tasks…

And I’d actually be keen to see some basic lessons in things like using Facebook productively, or the values that can be gained from working productively in World of Warcraft – I use those skills a lot more in a corporate environment than long multiplication or division!

Wikinomics » Blog Archive » Social Media Classroom: The Classroom 2.0
Oct 23, 2008 16:48

[...] an earlier post, Ian advocated the benefit of meeting the Net Generation where they live (and learn) by designing [...]

Wikinomics Blog Archive If the early bird always gets the worm | bird baths
Jun 14, 2009 11:03

[...] Wikinomics Blog Archive If the early bird always gets the worm Posted by root 18 minutes ago (http://www.wikinomics.com) If the early bird always gets the worm ian da silva october 21st 2008 your website your comment wikinomics is powered by wordpress Discuss  |  Bury |  News | Wikinomics Blog Archive If the early bird always gets the worm [...]

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