The ethos that underlies all these performance revolutions is captured by the Japanese term kaizen, or continuous improvement. In a kaizen world, skill is not a static, fixed quality but the subject of ceaseless labor. This idea is more applicable to some fields of endeavor than to others — it’s easier to talk about improved performance in sports or manufacturing, where people’s performance is quantifiable, than in writing or the fine arts — but the notion of continuous improvement has wide relevance, leading to dramatic advances in many fields. Which raises a question: what are the fields that could have become significantly better over the past forty years and haven’t? In one area above all, the failure to improve is especially egregious: education. Schools are, on the whole, little better than they were three decades ago. Yet countries that perform exceptionally well in international comparisons—among them Finland, Japan, and Canada—all take teacher training extremely seriously. They train teachers rigorously before they get in the classroom, and they make sure that the training continues throughout their work lives.
Research Professor on society, culture, art, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, neuroscience, autopoiesis, self-organization, complexity, systems, networks, rhizomes, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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