Executives Have Vivid Imaginations


Executives Have Vivid Imaginations

American Workers Lack Common Sense Skills, Executives Say

 

Workers lack communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creative skills executives say, according to a recent survey by the American Management Association. Turns out, bosses aren’t too excited about their underlings’ abilities, a prospect they’re getting more worried about considering such skills will be more important amid a changing business landscape, they say.

The number of executives rating their employees as below average increased across all four areas since the survey was last taken in 2010. Almost 20 percent of workers lack at least average creative skills, according to executives.

American Workers Lack Common Sense Skills, Executives Say

img156Yes, there has been a collapse in worker capabilities since that grand old time of American capability: 2010! That’s right. According to these executives (experts?), in the last three years, workers have become more incompetent. At a time, when the pool of available workers desperate for employment has been the highest since the great depression and they having the pick of the litter, the workers just aren’t as good.

Do you know what this means? It means these executive get together, talk a lot and gripe, then they take surveys. Next year, they may decide the food is bad or they don’t like the weather or they’ll go back to complaining about, that old favorite, “economic uncertainty.”

The idea that educational and judgment standards have dropped across the board in this country in three short years is simple nonsense. There is no change in the educational system, in hiring, or anything else, that would explain such a change. It’s just imagination, a particularly vivid imagination. What’s worse is that some people take this kind of survey nonsense seriously.

I tell you what, let’s ask the workers if their bosses have become less competent over the last three years. In fact let’s survey the workers the same way we do “executives” about basic skills and who has them. Then we could compare. That would be interesting statistics.

James Pilant

From around the web –

From the web site, Ideagency:

Obviously, the notion that Americans aren’t hard-working isn’t supported by the statistics.  Beyond the numbers, however, my experience working with my own clients support Begala’s argument.  The people I meet – whether they work in finance, manufacturing, retail, technology or health care – are not lazy.  Far from it.  Despite the lack of raises, bonuses, and other perks that have been severely cut back (or eliminated), the vast majority of employees I encounter are diligent, industrious, and proud of the work they do.  I would imagine this holds true for most workers.

From the web site, Irregular Times Diaries:

Yesterday, Senator John McCain was giving a political speech in front of the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades Department, when he blasted American workers as lazy, ungrateful people incapable of doing a good day’s work

Senator McCain said it was necessary for farmers to employ illegal aliens because American workers are too lazy and wimpy. McCain thought that he was being clever when he rhetorically offered to pay anyone in the audience 50 dollars an hour to pick lettuce.

And from the web site, Understanding China, One Blog at a Time:

A commenter recently called me a malingerer, surprised by such harsh words, I rushed to m-w.com to see just what the word meant— malingerer “to pretend or exaggerate incapacity or illness (as to avoid duty or work)” Reflecting on those harsh words, as I scanned the interweb aimlessly, I came across the following photos. And although I would not say that I am a malingerer (in terms of feigning illness) one could argue that I am currently not devoting all of my neurons to the task of making money for any one company , thus the word loafer may be more appropriate..

 

 

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Teaching with Purpose


Francis Bacon - Teaching with Purpose
Francis Bacon – Teaching with Purpose
Teaching with purpose

I’m one of the NRA’s “bad guys” – Salon.com

Why do I do this? I teach creative nonfiction. More importantly, I teach critical thinking skills, which, if Wayne LaPierre is any example, are in short supply in this country. I insist that students read books about difficult topics precisely because I want students to understand how to pick apart a difficult argument and how to see through the eyes of someone else, or because I simply want to see if my students’ vision of life squares up with those that they read. Sometimes, they are able to see themselves depicted in those pages, and sometimes they are able to examine their own prejudices (be they class, gender, race or education level) by being forced to look at the world through the eyes of the other.

I’m one of the NRA’s “bad guys” – Salon.com

I, too, teach critical thinking skills. It’s an uphill battle. My students having endured years of NCLB testing are superb factual test takers but have little experience with expressing an informed opinion. Quite often, a request for an opinion results not in an informed opinion based on any kind of fact or thinking but a reiteration of the worst elements of talk radio and 24 hours “news.” Simple tests where opinions and facts are listed and the student asked to identify which is which are routinely failed even by good students.

Business ethics and business law both demand higher level thinking skills. Deciding what should be done when there are ethical questions can well depend on religious beliefs, philosophical perceptions, life experience and practical considerations all at once. Critical thinking is key to making intelligent business decisions both routine and ethical.

James Pilant

From across the web –

From, http://izygekev.wordpress.com/

Critical thinking refers to a process of judgment taken after an analytical evaluation of a problem. It can be developed through the practice of intentional analyzing of every situation in life. Critical thinking skills can be developed by inculcating a habit of analytical and strategic thinking. If you can get yourself into the habit of analyzing every situation critically, you will gradually acquire critical thinking skills.

Your educational background plays a major role in the development of your thinking skills. Education that requires you to think analytically, the education that instills in you the principles of analytical thinking and reasoning leads you to become a critical thinker. The development of problem solving and reasoning skills since an early age is an excellent way of developing critical thinking skills. Fields that require you to acquire and evaluate information before reaching a conclusion indeed help in the development of critical thinking skills. Exposing yourself to questions that stimulate thinking can develop critical thinking skills.

From the web site, vive la internet

No one always acts purely objectively and rationally. We connive for selfish interests. We gossip, boast, exaggerate, and equivocate. It is “only human” to wish to validate our prior knowledge, to vindicate our prior decisions, or to sustain our earlier beliefs. In the process of satisfying our ego, however, we can often deny ourselves intellectual growth and opportunity. We may not always want to apply critical thinking skills, but we should have those skills available to be employed when needed.
Critical thinking includes a complex combination of skills. Among the main characteristics are the following:

Rationality
We are thinking critically when we
• rely on reason rather than emotion,
• require evidence, ignore no known evidence, and follow evidence where it leads, and
• are concerned more with finding the best explanation than being right analyzing apparent confusion and asking questions.

From the web site, Rliberni’s Blog, Radical Language

How do we focus on the teaching of Critical Thinking skills in a standardized test focused curriculum?
What a fun topic for me this week (per usual for edchat).  I actually almost missed it as I was running late from a meeting.  Don’t tell my superintendent, but I may have pushed the speed limit a bit in a school vehicle to get to my computer.  
As an administrator for the past 9 years, I have wrestled with this question often.  I feel horrible about focusing so much on the test when I know that focusing on the test probably isn’t what is what our kids need for being better thinkers.   

Many strong opinions were shared during this amazing fast paced hour of learning.  It is hard to argue that critical thinking skills are vital to be taught and what we SHOULD be teaching.  However, it is scary for teachers and administrators to deviate from not teaching to the tests when the system is currently set up with sanctions and penalties for those schools that do not do well on the tests.  It was agreed by many, including me, that great teaching that includes teaching students how to think, rather than what to think, while ultimately produce strong results. 

 

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What Do Our College Students Learn?


I wrote a three part series (part 1) (part 2) (part 3) on the latest study showing that college students are not learning critical thinking skills. I pointed out that the study was another in a series of little publicized media events. In truth, the public, the colleges and the business world have little desire for critical thinking.

But what do students learn in college?

A faculty member once had a class of students who were not wealthy, not even close. Not all of the students in his class were able to afford textbooks. So, given a choice of textbooks for the next year’s class, he chose one that cost about seventy dollars. The next year, all of his students had the textbook. The very next semester the price of the textbook rose to one hundred and ten dollars. And then two more years slid by and it went up to one hundred and fifty dollars.

This is not an unusual situation with textbook prices. It is, in fact, the common, everyday experience of teachers and students in colleges and universities all over the United States.

Students may not be learning as much critical thinking as some would like, they may not get that much cultural literacy, and they may have only the vaguest concept of the term “civic duty”, but they do know about pricing. I get it in class essays, “You charge as much as you can get.” To them, it is an ethical rule – You must pursue the highest return possible under any circumstance. The students don’t know any other rule. The deeper philosophical concepts of just price and two thousand years of contrary philosophy are not factors here.

I believe I am a good teacher but there is no amount of teaching skill that can equal the cutting edge of another textbook price increase every year. They may not grasp the “statute of frauds” in my business law class but they understand the phrase, “what the market will bear” with perfect clarity.

What are we teaching our students?  Is there any lesson more naked about the nature of the American idea of free enterprise than what students endure each year at the bookstore?

James Pilant

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What Mendel tells us about thinking (via The Hannibal Blog)


My students are bombarded with my lectures on good decision-making. They suffer through seemingly endless talk about why reason is better than opinion, how the facts are better than speculation. All this because I believe that critical thinking is at the heart of an effective education.

I believe in thinking. We live in a time where people can say, “I go with my gut,” and people treat them as if they had leadership ability when the intelligent response is to say, “That’s nice.” and ease them away from any position of authority.

The American Experience is a brief piece of history but its significance has been huge. It is an attempt at allowing a free people to make the critical choices in their lives. America is based on Enlightenment philosophy. This philosophy teaches that humans are capable of improvement and that with the tools of human reason they can free themselves from superstition and false beliefs. These ideas are embedded in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Not only that but our educational system, our laws and every idea of improvement espoused by any self-help book are all based on those beliefs.

Give some attention to the Hannibal Blog and what he has to say about thinking.

James Pilant

What Mendel tells us about thinking Find quietude. Observe whatever is around you. If it seems banal, discover it to be fascinating and mysterious. Ignore distractions, otherwise known as ‘everybody else’. Ask simple questions that puzzle you. Be patient in pondering them. That is how I imagine Gregor Mendel might answer us today if we asked him: How  — I mean how! — did you achieve your stunning intellectual breakthroughs, on which we today base our understanding of biology? Put … Read More

via The Hannibal Blog