This is a powerful short excerpt from Seth Godin's Stop Stealing Dreams (free downlaod), a manifesto on transforming the education system.
Teach the history of baseball, beginning with Abner Doubleday and the impact of cricket and imperialism. Have a test.
Starting with the Negro leagues and the early barnstorming teams, assign students to memorize facts and figures about each player. Have a test.
Rank the class on who did well on the first two tests, and allow these students to memorize even more statistics about baseball players. Make sure to give equal time to players in Japan and the Dominican Republic. Send the students whodidn’t do as well to spend time with a lesser teacher, but assign them similar work, just over a longer time frame. Have a test.
Sometime in the future, do a field trip and go to a baseball game. Make sure no one has a good time.If there’s time, let kids throw a baseball around during recess.
Obviously, there are plenty of kids (and adults) who know far more about baseball than anyone could imagine knowing. And none of them learned it this way.
The industrialized, scalable, testable solution is almost never the best way to generate exceptional learning.