Sunday, 21 November 2004

The Fallacy of the Underachieving Child

I totally agree with Vicky Woodward on her assertion that

An underachieving child has never existed.

This fallacy is a result of the industrial age requirement of producing workers who are inter-changeable with jobs. In order to keep the machine running (which was huge investment), people who works around these machine takes shifts. If one is sick, ideally, anyone should be able to substitute his place and continue to produce. The production line cannot be stopped because there is a shortage of labour at one production point.

In order to meet the need of industrial age, education system has been set up as filtering system, grading people into different "classes". The measuring instrument to do the sorting is academic performance. "Underachievers" are those who cannot be measured by the current measuring instrument.

My focus is not in criticizing the current education system. At least I am brought up in such a system. My focus is more in the future - a future where
  • repetitive tasks will be replaced by computer and machinery,
  • creativity and innovation are critical,
  • communication skill, team work and problem solving skill are important,
  • productivity must be so high that an average people will support the needs of parents who had inadequately funded their retirement and children of their own,

  • an unknown future when fossil fuel may be close to running out, green house effect may have affected the climate, human life expectancy has been significantly extended due to medical advances, the rich is still richer and the poor are still poor, ...

    My focus is on today. How can I prepare my child to face an unknown future that we don't know?

    I suppose I don't need to worry. Human are so adaptable that our children, by the time they need to face to problem, they will find a solution. But I was also reminded by Lawrence Lessig that today's politicians are putting our kids in big trouble.

    I look forward to reading Vicky Woodward's future post and seeing what she will offer us.

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