This is a guest article written by Anne Tham, the Founder and CEO of the ACE EdVenture education group from Malaysia that has been delivering transformational education to prepare students for their future of uncertainty and constant change for the last 25 years. We asked her about her thoughts on the current situation in the world and what, in her opinion, it means for the future of education.
If there’s anything the last few months have reinforced, it’s that our lives can get disrupted when we least expect it. We’re seeing more and more how technology, life, and nature can create a lot of uncertainty despite our best-laid plans.
Additionally, we are at a time in our history where we have unprecedented access to information, globalization, and talent. With this shift, there is a need for the education systems of the world to give their roles in preparing students for a re-look. On that note, we’re covering a few crucial aspects that we think should be the focus:
The pace of the world and a future of increased volatility demands Adaptability, or more measurably, a high Adaptability Quotient (AQ) to be a core skill people need to navigate it.
Children have this amazing innate ability to adapt. Education must recognize this and be the catalyst for children to grow their AQ. In conventional education systems, this gets systemized out of the kids. One of the things our education philosophy and some around the world do well to include is Exploration which creates the diversity and richness that gives them exposure to a fluid way of approaching their learnings and the world around them. This is critical for adaptation as a skill to thrive.
Once adaptability is second nature to them from a young age, they will be unstoppable individuals as adults.
No Need to “Dumb It Down”
Children have an incredible capacity for learning. They have no filter switched on for the information they take in and bounce from one thing to another, absorbing the things they learn like sponges.
A lot of times, however, there is a tendency for adults to assume that kids have to learn from the very beginning, the basics, or oversimplifying. As educators, we ought to maximize their ability to learn without the perceived confines of “I should only learn this because I am this age” which is in fact imposed by educators, again out of the best of intentions.
Don’t just teach them about “trees” when teaching about the park, talk to them about the Eucalyptus, Sycamore, Ficus, Sequoia trees, etc. For those who are concerned about the level-appropriateness of these words, don’t worry, we’re just talking about having conversations that create depth, not to test them.
Make It An Experience
We’re great at remembering things and details from an experience that triggered our emotions. Equally, there are damaging experiences but in this context, we’re talking about positive, empowering emotions. The same goes for the kids when they learn; the greater the experience and emotions evoked about something they’ve discovered, the more likely that will stay with them for the long term.
That successful siege on the (pillow and blanket) fort they had at home with their family, siblings, friends, they will definitely be remembering that for years to come.
These are 3 crucial things we think education needs for children to thrive in today’s world and their future which is uncertain and constantly evolving. What we’re experiencing as global citizens has made these foundations even more imperative.
It is fortunate that many parts of the world are no longer in a state of emergency and have begun their transition back to “normal”. Nonetheless, we hope what we’ve shared today provokes some thought and we hope you stay safe normalizing to daily life. Take care!
In 1995, Anne, then a college lecturer, identified a huge gap between the preparedness of college students and what the real world would expect of them so she set out on her own to teach students in a way that would engage them and make use of their many facets of learning which is today known as the ACE EdVenture approach. To date, ACE EdVenture has positively impacted approximately 20,000 students through its two international schools, including Malaysia’s first entrepreneurial school also home to its Finnish-Asian hybrid pre-school, a private tutoring center, and a multitude of language centers.