Sunday, April 1, 2018

Parenting with Love: Educating for the Future World

I never thought that I'd say this but comparatively to many to other mums, it's evident that I will never qualify to be a "tiger mum". To be one, you must have an iron will as well as the tenacity to weather all storms (including rebellions and meltdowns), not to mention pretty deep pockets. :p  I bumped into a mum a few weekends who stopped me in mid tracks to ask about a Netball organisation that Dumpling was with for the last 2 - 3 terms. From that discussion it evolved to many other side topics but all driving towards how I am steering / preparing my child for an elite Secondary school.

It was clear that this mum was at the top of her game and mind you, I must say that I am very impressed as her child is a good couple of years younger than Dumpling, having only started in Primary 1. Honestly, I could not keep up.

I have recently moved on from the Early Childhood industry (after having spent the past 6 years in this industry) where I am now taking back on a team leader position, overseeing a department. (Please stay with me, this is leading to something.) As the role was left vacant for a while, there are "headcounts" to fill. So, over the past few weeks, I have been actively interviewing candidates for 2 positions as well as understanding the dynamics of my new team, and learning more about my various stakeholders and colleagues.

After viewing what feels like a gazillion CVs, it suddenly hit me that my managers and I were hardly looking into the academic achievements of the candidates. Rather, the candidates that caught my eye were those who cited leadership experiences, commitment (e.g. no job hopping), problem solving skills, etc. During the interviews, traits such as a willingness to collaborate, high EQ (I sometimes ask fairly far out questions to see what response I'd elicit), creativity are things that I look out for.




Dumpling is turning 10 this year and it made me rethink ~ is the future world or are future jobs just about grades? Will interviewers be looking into her PSLE and O level scores comes 10 - 12 years time? Or are there other skills which are more important? What are the jobs which are yet to be created, for the future world?



As parents in this meritocratic society, I believe that many of us were brought up with a view on the utter importance of grades. But what is an irony to me is while as a society, many areas such as technology, medical research, etc. have progressed but our education system seems to be stuck in some sort of a time capsule. The relentless chase for grades is still ongoing, evident in the thriving billion dollar tuition industry here in Singapore.

And I must say that some parents start their kids "early" on these. Dumpling had an interesting encounter with a classmate last year where they had to construct a boat individually but work as a group to present and share their thoughts, findings and rationale for the choice of materials for their boat. Dumpling was in charge of collating the slides and was repeatedly "chasing" for the slides from a classmate. After 2 - 3 weeks (nearing the deadline), the girl shared that her parent does not allow for her to email or share her slides with anyone prior the presentation. Frankly, I was mind-blown. 😐

Collaboration, problem solving skills, conflict management and the ability to lead, to me, are skills which I'd like for Dumpling to hone as they are key to her working well with her colleagues and team mates, no matter where she goes. After all, no one has all the knowledge in the world. And if anything, always choose to be kind. The world is not just about grades, and certainly not just about possessing this tunnel vision of being so "me-centric" and causing much inconvenience where, in this instance, the form teacher had to insert the students' (lone -ranger) slides into the group deck so no one else could see them prior.

I still recall my brother purchasing his first computer (286!!!) from years ago and that the shop assistants were playing computer games when we got there. I recall that "gaming" was being frowned on then, by the older folks as it was not really "a job". Just take a look at our children now. Many parents are signing them for robotics and coding classes, and even MOE has released a statement to share that all primary schools are to set up an applied learning programme by 2023. So who's to say what future jobs will be created in 10 - 15 years down the road?

So are grades, then, truly enough? Or are we, as parents of this next generation, missing out something that's beyond the academics.
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