Benjamin Zander

Just listening to an interesting video by Benjamin Zander at Poptech 2008. He certainly comes across as a passionate teacher and does well to engage the audience. I liked some of his points so thought I would get them down.

2 salesman are sent to africa to sell shoes. One telegrams back – situation hopeless. They don’t wear shoes. The other – Glorious opportunity – no one wears shoes here.

These are reflections of attitude – not statements about circumstances.
scarcity versus abundance.
scarcity – students are competing and worried and anxious and he talks about a downward spiral of negativity that we can be consumed in – I am not good enough, complaint, no chance, it cant be done, it is too difficult, the resources are not there, other people are doing better.
abundance – is about possibility and what can be done and achieved.

He teaches exceptional students who are held back by the competitions and grades and pressure to perform. See’s the student’s being affected by the scarcity principle – I am not good enough, what if I make a mistake etc.

Gives each student an A at the beginning of the course if they write a letter to him and explain what they will do in the next year to achieve that A. He tells them to fall in love with that person. He finds that the person they write about is the one who turns up to class.

Michaelangelo – in each piece of marble their is a beautiful statue, all you need is a hammer and a chisel to get rid of the stone that is in the way of that beautiful statue.

Model of education we use is teacher is above student and student tries to reach the teacher. In michaelangelo’s model the teacher and student are equal and work together.

Leaders we need are those who can recognise the scarcity downward spiral and move it to an area of possiblilty.

This got me thinking about the ways I may inadvertently promote the ‘scarcity’ principle in my classroom, and how I can move that to an area of possibility.


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