WWRW: The most important discipline for students.

It’s “What we’re reading Wednesday!”

Our Wednesday article of the week is “The most important skill for 21st-century students is the discipline to say “no.”

The landscape for students changed. With it, the most important pieces of their development as students and citizens of the world has also shifted. Lauren Alix Brown at qz.com writes about the most important emerging disciplines.

There’s much debate on what students need most to succeed in an increasingly competitive world. The challenges of automation, globalization, and political upheaval leave out the fact that we’re living an age of information overload.

According to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, the one thing that children will need to learn is “intellectual discipline.” The ability to recall facts (we have Google) and parrot popular arguments (the canon is dead) has become obsolete. Students need to wade through the noise, discern the facts, analyze perspectives, and develop their own expertise.

In a panel on “Education in the Post-Truth World” at WISE 2017’s summit for education, Zakaria contrasts how the barrage of media effect how young people take in and process information.

I say this to my kids all of the time, ‘you can graze all these headlines and tweets and blog posts you like—at the end of the day the way you develop real knowledge about a subject still remains that you have to go deep; still remains that you have to actually read books; still remains that you have to talk to experts, travel to countries.

All you do is put yourself at a competitive disadvantage if you don’t handle these things. I think this is one of the great challenges we face.

I don’t mean this to suggest it’s putting down young people. I grew up in India with no television. TV came to India in about 1975, I was 10 years old—One channel, black and white, they would show channels about Indian agriculture that nobody watched. There was one Bollywood movie on Sunday nights.

I read voraciously because that’s what you could do.

If I had a supercomputer in my pocket called an iPhone that could stream all the entertainment in the world all the TV shows, I don’t think I would’ve read that much but I don’t think I would’ve had the career that I have. I don’t know where that takes you.

Children are going to have to learn something that I didn’t have to learn as much which is discipline, intellectual discipline—the ability to say no. There was no choice if I went to a store.

The world my children are growing up in is exactly the opposite an explosion of choice, an explosion of options, an explosion of opportunity.

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