Monday, 3 November 2014

What is the most important thing?

I have a great builder.
He can visualise what can go into a space to make it more beautiful, and he crafts and builds with skill and accuracy.  He is also dyslexic.  This means that he doesn't read my emails very easily and I have difficulty understanding what he means when he replies to my emails. So, I have learned through experience (and finding out about his dyslexia from his offsider plumber) that it is best to phone him and/or talk to him face to face.  He has a successful business, is always busy, keeps to his spoken schedule and is genuinely a nice man.
Why am I telling you about my builder?  Well, at school I believe he would have struggled to meet the literacy standards of the day.  And therein lies my problem with the obsession with measuring literacy and numeracy standards across the country, and I suspect, across many countries' education systems.
Unfortunately, I think much of this focus on meeting national standards is driven by the idea that people must be literate and numerate to be able to succeed in life.
Is this paradigm is driven by the people who are in business in high places right now?  Outmoded education systems were built for the Industrial Age, and we must start to prepare our students for an unknown future.  It is, however, apparently still very hard for some schools, some teachers and some parents to make the shift to a more personalised, future focused education for children.
I think that very often, parents support and perpetuate the old system of education.  They seem to want to be educated the way that they were educated.  You hear these phrases often: -

  • You should get back to basics.  
  • Focus on the three Rs.  
  • You are not getting enough homework
  • The teacher knows everything you need to know
  • You just need more discipline slash respect
I do understand how literacy and numeracy are important for many real life situations.  But they are not the most important thing.  The most important thing is that success will come from focusing on learning through and about what interests you. Teach yourself how to learn, how you learn best and seek help as and when you need it.  
I believe that technology opens up a number of different pathways to success.  My builder uses an ipad to help visualise the project, along with his own notes which may not be very comprehensible to others.  It works for him.  There are a whole bunch of successful creative people out there who do not need to know when to use particular punctuation, or know the difference between an adverb and an adjective.  Instead they have learned to improve, how to strive for improvements, how to learn and often they have had a supportive mentor, a guide on the side, a teacher, partner or parent who has encouraged them to go further, or even keep going when others would have given up.
So in your quest for success, always remember these important things.
  • Be prepared for failures.  
  • Be prepared to unlearn what you may have learned in the past. 
  • Be prepared to adapt.
  • Be prepared to work on improving.
This way you will find your own niche in life.

Image sourced from openclipart 

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