"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Common Core Collaboration: Detrimental for Leadership Qualities?

Common Core standards stress collaboration and groupthink.  The proponents will tell you it is necessary to make students successful, global thinkers and ready for the 21st century economy, whatever a 21st century economy looks like.

Not so fast.  An article in forbes.com details what makes a leader and it's not what the CCSS proponents are promising will equip your child with strong work skills and success.  From Leadership Tip: Hire the Quiet Neurotic, Not the Impressive Extrovert:

Most leaders are attracted to the guy or woman who seems confident and outgoing, unafraid in any situation or facing any challenge. They expect an extrovert to infuse any team with energy, to push ahead on projects and to motivate colleagues to do their best work. Meantime they have low expectations of anyone who appears neurotic, who seems withdrawn and too anxious to live up to their potential. Leaders expect neurotic employees to contribute little and to drag down colleagues’ morale.

Not true, says a new study by Corinne Bendersky, an associate professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. In a paper called “The Downfall of Extraverts and Rise of Neurotics: The Dynamic Process of Status Allocation in Task Groups,” Bendersky and co-author Neha Parikh Shah, an assistant professor at Rutgers Business School, explodes stereotypes about how extroverts and neurotics perform on teams. It turns out that extroverts contribute less than team members expect and the contributions they do make are not valued highly over time. Neurotics, by contrast, are motivated to work hard on behalf of their teams, who wind up appreciating their efforts, in part because they exceed everyone’s expectations. In the end, extroverts decline in the teams’ esteem while neurotics rise in status.

The lesson of the study: Bendersky says team leaders should be wary of extroverts. “The core of an extroverted personality is to be attention-seeking,” she observes. “It turns out they just keep talking, they don’t listen very well and they’re not very receptive to other people’s input. They don’t contribute as much as people think they will.” If she were putting together a team, says Bendersky,“I would staff it with more neurotics and fewer extroverts than my initial instinct would lead me to do.”
Maybe those introverts and neurotics need to be left alone with their own thoughts and answers to problems.  Good luck to these budding leaders as they are mandated to collaborate and share their work with others.

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating article - thanks for the heads up. (fyi, the pdf is 51 pages but its "typed"/double spaced and a quick read). As my old advisor used to say, any carnival barker can get folks into the tent. However, the "millenials" in my science courses show explicit evidence that collaborative learning has been standard practice for some time. Typically I witness the product of a group whose "take-charge" leader doesn't necessarily know much and exerts influence that negatively affects outcomes. The students whose work stands out, even in a group setting, are those who have learned to work independently. My homework assignments can be challenging and usually involve critical thinking skills (which appear to be in very short supply - but that's another topic) and the independent workers have learned how to approach such tasks. I have been surprised to learn that student-thinkers who learned these skills, not science savants, were often students who were home schooled. These are anecdotal observations on my part, of course, but the process is pretty consistent.


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