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You know that old saying about teachers:  “Those who can, do.  Those who can’t, teach.” It’s disgraceful. It implies that teaching is all theory and concept. It suggests there is no practice, or modeling or real doing.  Just posting lessons and leaving it to students to understand and retain.  While there is probably some of that going on, most teachers today try to make learning stimulating and experiential.

Strategy and planning some times get the same wrap.  Lots of talk but not a lot of practical doing.  I joke that I make paper for a living – strategic paper. Paper outlining the organizing principle brands follow through which they create sales and loyalty.  To some, strategy is the opposite of doing. Strategy is not an ad, not a customer acquisition piece, not a sales preso.  

When a song writer sits dong to write a song, s/he doesn’t have a strategy.  

Most people in advertising and marketing who make and shuffle stuff around like that part of the business. Making shiny stuff. I love making the shiny stuff work better.

When a teacher sees a student, years later, who has succeeded — it warms his of her heart. When I look at a brand strategy years later that lives on and thrives, well beyond the forgettable shiny stuff, I feel equal pride.  Peace.

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I’d like to advance a hypothesis. Working in the educational development space as I am, I often wonder about creating learning environments (K-12 in particular) that are more conducive to student engagement and lesson retention.  The latest theory – and there are many – is that “student-centered, teacher-facilitated” is the winning approach.   In the vein of the Khan Academy (a kind of a YouTube for lessons) what if for low performing urban kids, the videos were offered in the patois of the street – complete with appropriate urban music beds?  Perhaps a naughty word once in a while for emphasis.

The culture of learning has always been so counter to some kids.  Why not wean those with difficulty learning into more conventional environments by using the familiar?  Get these students attention, win them over through exploration and context, then begin to slowly exfiltrate them towards more mainstream teaching. If teaching is to be student-centered, needn’t we meet students of all kinds half way, yo? 

Silly perhaps. Probably been tried in real life, with a smidgen of success.  But I bet a Khan Academy-like video might do it.  Brand planners understand the importance of “feeling” the audience. Is it time for eduators to do the same?


PS.  The views here expressed are not the views of Teq, Inc.  They are simply the thoughts and crumbs of a marketing blogger with his head above the clouds.

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