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  • On the subject of small and big revolutions in the schools we call to the stage Ricardo Semler.

  • Ricardo is CEO and major stakeholder of SEMCO SA and director of FIESP (Industry Federation of São Paulo)

  • He has a bachalor degree in laws from USP (University of São Paulo) and a degree in Business from Harward

  • He is author of international best-sellers like Turning the tables (Mavericks)

  • and Seven Days Weekend.

  • in 1990 created the Ralston/Semler Foundation with the goal to research and

  • contribute to find solutions for innovation in the education of Brazil.

  • He is also the cretor of the Project Lumiar Sinapses. With the word, Ricardo Semler.

  • First I need to complain with Positivo because it's not fair to put me after Nicolélis.

  • I didn't invent anything, nothing will be walking around because of me

  • But...

  • when I think about our current moment in education

  • it reminds me the story of the guy that will

  • do skydive and they tell him that he only needs three things

  • first

  • to open that parachutes he should press the green button

  • if it doesn't open...

  • then press the red button

  • and when you land don't start to walk around because a Van will come to pick you up.

  • The man jumps, press the first button

  • nothing happens

  • he thinks, keep calm, keep calm, you have the second button. He press the second button

  • and nothing happens and then he thinks...

  • Now, I hope the Van is still waiting for me.

  • The feeling I have is that we came from the

  • greek education

  • approach,

  • with a tutor.

  • From the concept that

  • education is something for few people.

  • Then we passed through a moment

  • of middle age

  • where a lot was lost

  • and restarted again with the Iluminism

  • idea the you have to train the brain.

  • And education is basically about the brain.

  • And the brain is

  • naturally taken, like we heard here already,

  • to a perspective where you can measure,

  • and things you can understand and also

  • the market and employment...

  • and that we are trying to create people to power the current market and work force

  • but we don't understand the current market even less the future one.

  • And in a second moment, and what I think is the second button in the parachute

  • Henry Ford's idea that it's not doable. To educate everybody...

  • you have to create an assembly line.

  • The schools we have today are the result of that. Well, simplifying:

  • I have millions of kids I need to to prepare

  • for the market. How can I do that?

  • Let's see

  • They asked the University of Chicago,

  • in 1908,

  • also the same year

  • of the assembly line from Ford,

  • How can I dod that?

  • And the answer was...

  • What is the attention span of a kid?

  • Around 53 minutes was the answer, at that time.

  • How many kids I can put in the same room?

  • Considering the louder a

  • teacher can communicate and not stress himself toi much

  • and also keep the order

  • ...

  • around 35 kids

  • And how can I share the knowledge?

  • Don't know, ask the biologist, the mathematician, and everyone comes up with their plan

  • So, mr. biologist, what's the deal?

  • Hum, first we start with amoeba, and then that, and then the division, so on and so forth.

  • What about Math? First addition, then subtraction, some numbers here, sine and cosine... got it?

  • Then you think, well, I'm gonna create something called Curriculum.

  • I put everything side by side and I'm gonna create people who passed through everything

  • but is absolutely schizophrenic,

  • necessarily schizophrenic.

  • They passed through all that because the student takes a Trigonometry 2 class

  • then goes to history of Japan, to cell division, and then

  • he has to find a way to put everything together. It is absolutely impossible e nobody ever did that.

  • With time, the University of Chicago started to measure that

  • And concluded that the american curriculum (with 1552 pages at the moment) detailing what

  • should be taught

  • in which year and age

  • and concluded that the retention of knowledge

  • of the students who went through that system

  • was 6.7%.

  • Which means you are

  • in a business that 92, 93% of failure

  • and that's what we do.

  • Then you think, who is going to find a better approach for us?

  • Maybe consultants could be a good idea

  • and academic researches,

  • And now we are talking about the Van,

  • that...

  • will never arrive.

  • Or the entrepreneur that comes from outside, no, everything is wrong.

  • let me explain to you: management

  • change the principal and the director

  • and recycle the teachers

  • Got it?

  • But that man who is teaching you

  • has also almost the same rate of failure. 91% of the companies doesn't last more than 20 years.

  • 91.1% of the companies...

  • The man who

  • learned

  • that 91% of what he does fail, is teaching someone with a

  • 93% rate of failure.

  • There is something wrong.

  • The notion of making marginal improvements

  • in a system

  • that is obsolete by definition, by design

  • is nuts

  • and we are doing that more and more

  • because we are getting

  • anxious

  • to realize that it is not working.

  • And I'm not talking about Brazil only.

  • There's no exception in the world.

  • There's no place in the world, not even in Finland, or any place

  • where people are completely happy with their education system.

  • But we are making it work

  • based on a rules somebody invented.

  • The OECD came up with the Pisa exam that tests Portuguese (or English) and Math

  • wait?!

  • But 4

  • of the 5th best places in the world accordingly to that, are dictatorships

  • Have you ever stopped to think about? That's what we are trying to mimic

  • The best placed in the Pisa exam

  • is the communist dictatorship of Shanghai.

  • The other is Korea, where the student spend 12 hours per day in class, including Saturdays and still have

  • home-work.

  • And we are saying that this is the formula to generate

  • happy people

  • No! That a formula to generate a lot of people that learn to memorize 12 hours a day

  • and then take a an exam of language and math and goes well.

  • Will that approach

  • generate people capable for the market on a new world? No way!

  • When you entered in this profession did you get in thinking I'm gonna learn

  • the rules

  • learn the right ways

  • and control those kids

  • or did you have an ideal?

  • That idea was lost long ago.

  • Your lost ideal

  • mixed with kids that don't want to be in class.

  • And people discuss why schools more and more looks like Febens (brazilian reformatory)

  • It's because the Febens improved. Am I wrong?

  • Febens doesn't have watchtowers anymore and other things.

  • And the schools have metal detectors and high walls

  • So it's getting closer.

  • The question is why we are doing that? Because they don't want

  • to be there.

  • If you let they will runway

  • so you can't allow that.

  • Now that the kids are here, we have them for 13 years at our availability

  • And what we'll do with them?

  • Well let's

  • give them all the curriculum for math, biology, history and etc.

  • And then we'll commit a

  • fraud that we all agreed to.

  • I'm gonna give an exam because the parents, the mayor, etc

  • are all asking if you are doing well.

  • I'm gonna give you an exam

  • of a content

  • that if it's compared with the internet, on average,

  • would be a tiny fraction of what is available on Google about the same subject

  • I'm gonna cover just that tiny fraction

  • and I teach you that way: I write, you copy, I write, you copy, I write, you copy...

  • and at the end I say

  • done, the exam will be just about these things because if I don't say

  • what's gonna be covered the grades would miserable.

  • So, I'm gonna make a deal with you, I tell you what I'm gonna cover

  • I'm ok with cheating and everything else that helps

  • and when it is a Prova Brazil (national exam to evaluate schools), I let the worst students get "sick",

  • strangely in the exam's day. Am I wrong? Just a coincidence.

  • And them when it's done

  • I plot a chart. I get the best and I put here

  • and the worst here

  • and, well, we are not so bad, we have 4.3 which matches the national average

  • And then you think... there must be something wrong!

  • How

  • on this format, the kids learn?

  • I have 5 little kids at home

  • and people used to tell me: you have to learn to learn.

  • When you have a kid

  • starting to walk

  • like 9 months

  • you think you are helping them to learn to walk

  • it is more or less

  • like this, come... come...

  • Do you walk like that?

  • But that's how you teach right?!

  • But maybe the come from factory ready to learn.

  • We, as adults, learning a second language, it is hard...

  • third language, horrible

  • but they learn a language while learning to speak

  • and you try to teach them: fa-fat-fa-ther

  • And then they: Fish! Am I wrong? Well...

  • There's something happening and we are failing to understand it

  • in the school world.

  • I even have an example

  • at home,

  • on how...

  • on how those kids think.

  • We had a problem at home, where Fernanda, my wife, was alway too anxious

  • to

  • travel or even to go to São Paulo because our girls are too young,

  • we have twins,

  • 2 years and half.

  • They understood we had nanys

  • and the nanys where there but sometimes

  • they had their day off.

  • But Fernanda, always very anxious.

  • And one day,

  • the girls talking, the twins,

  • and the mother was in São Paulo,

  • and of the girls asked:

  • Where is mom?

  • And Olívia replied:

  • well, of course, it's her day off,

  • right, Letícia?!

  • And after that we solved all anxiety problems of the mom

  • because is just had to explain that it was a day off and they said "Ah, ok, bye!".

  • I never had more problems

  • because they had understood that in that way.

  • So,

  • with format of current schools,

  • it is passing through a moment where we

  • are feeling the anxiety and pain

  • that the system doesn't work here,

  • o in the US,

  • or England,

  • or Japan.

  • And there is a feeling until your 18 years old that thing is a torture.

  • And we are practicing that toture if really low

  • levels of success

  • and we fooling ourselves saying: the only we can is to recycle a little bit, put

  • more computers, etc.

  • A study from

  • OECD

  • showed

  • that with a linear research of 11 year that

  • the usage of computers

  • in the school doesn't make a small difference.

  • It makes ZERO difference!

  • It made 0 difference in their study per 11 years.

  • And we are fooling ourselves to believe

  • that we need to revitalize,

  • modernize a method that completely obsolete

  • It is like adding a new

  • 'engine' in an Opala (old Brazilian car)

  • 77

  • and then we keep polishing it... polish it here and there

  • and it will look beautiful.

  • There is something wrong!

  • The current model,

  • that is

  • a model of parallel knowledge that somebody will try to put it together

  • for a world that doesn't need it for today even less to when the kids graduate.

  • That indicates that