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What Schools Are Teaching Corporations

Ann Mellow, Associate Director

May 14, 2013

Business PeopleThere’s been a longstanding tension between business and education that has centered on whether and to what extent approaches from the “business world” can or should be adopted by the “school world.” For years this has been largely a one-way conversation: the business world has figured it out and schools should get on board.

But something has changed. Alongside writing about “big data” and technological innovation in business literature today you’ll also find article after article about the central role that non-measurable, non-technical and very human “skills” play in “high performing” companies.

Query “resilience” in the Harvard Business Review and you’ll find 92 articles, including one titled “Building Resilience by Wasting Time.” Observing surfers, Peter Bregman writes in an HBR blog: “Why don't we accept falling—even if it's a failure—as part of the ride?” Writing about innovative company culture in the MIT Sloan Management review, Jay Rao and Joseph Weintraub note, “An innovative climate cultivates enthusiasm, challenges people to take risks within a safe environment, fosters learning and encourages independent thinking.”

Resiliency, teamwork, emotional intelligence, perseverance, independent thinking -- aren’t these the very human qualities that great schools have long valued and cultivated? Episcopal schools have always attended to a particular kind of education and human formation that goes far beyond what is easily measurable. And our business colleagues seem to be reminding us that it’s more important than ever.

Maybe we’re not so far apart after all.

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