News Herald – Juliann Talkington
Technology is changing so fast, it is impossible to know what the world will be like in a year, much less four or five. Just 25 years ago, the Internet was still in its infancy, mobile phones were just gaining popularity, and genetically modified foods were not yet on the market. Now we are worried about biological computers, electronic currencies, and the health impacts of genetically modified foods.
For decades, education experts encouraged schools to track kids into narrow areas like molecular biology, medieval history, copyright law, or Fortran programming. As technology advanced, the lines between disciplines began to disappear and some areas vanished.
Now a person’s long-term employment prospects are based on his/her ability to quickly learn new things, interact with others, and change. This means everyone needs a strong understanding of all the disciplines including the arts, math, history, science, languages, etc. In addition, employers need people who can communicate, listen, and empathize with others; have a strong work ethic; and possess good character. This means our kids need a completely different type of education than we did when we were growing up.
Here is a list of the skill gaps that exist in our education system and parenting approaches.
1. Ability to think critically and assess and analyze information
The problem often develops in elementary school. Primary school teachers need strong proficiency in this area.
Students need practice working with others. Schools are not structured to provide exposure to different ages.
Schools/parents want stability. Students need exposure to change.
Students need opportunities to start new programs, etc.
5. Effective Written and Oral Communication
Schools need step by step teaching approaches and effective ways to assess proficiency.
6. Curious, Imaginative, Creative
Schools should foster these abilities with short creative blocks during the teaching day.
Parents need to demonstrate acceptable behavior.
8. Polished and Courteous
Parents need to teach their children basic life skills – allow others to finish speaking before you begin, chew with your mouth closed, etc.
Parents should discuss world affairs and technological advances with their kids.
10. Strong work ethic
Parents need to teach their children about self-discipline, punctuality, follow-through, etc. and then allow them to experience consequences when they do not deliver.
Once we realize what worked in the 1900s no longer makes sense today, we can work together to make sure our kids are ready for life on their own.
News Herald – Juliann Talkington
Do high standardized test scores assure success?
Many highly-accomplished people had far from perfect scores on the SAT test. Some struggled to get through college and others dropped out. With these results, there must be more to success than academic brilliance.
Granted, technological advances have made academic knowledge, especially in math and the sciences, more important. However, common sense is just as vital as it was fifty years ago. Sadly, many parents have become so focused on academic knowledge and fame that common sense has fallen by the wayside.
Common sense is something most of us understand intuitively, but is difficult to define. It is a combination of wisdom and self-discipline.
According to Wordnik wisdom is, “The ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting.” Wisdom is not something that can be found in a textbook, taught in a classroom, or downloaded from the Internet. It is not tested through standardized tests like the SAT, MCAT, or GRE. Instead it is something that comes with exposure and experience.
The same dictionary defines self-discipline as, “Training and control of one’s conduct.” Self-discipline is generally modeled and taught at home through structure, responsibility, consequences, and praise.
Before the age of helicopter parents, most kids developed common sense as part of everyday life. Children were given considerable responsibility. Parents set expectations and there were consequences for poor choices. Only the winners received trophies. Through the school of hard knocks kids gradually learned how to present ideas, communicate with others, and alert people of delays. They came to understand the importance of punctuality and how to diplomatically address problems.
Now many parents are so worried about the “perfect” D1 sports program, landing a lead movie role, etc. that they do too much of their kids. It is often better to set general extra-curricular involvement requirements and establish minimum effort expectations rather than micromanage.
Finally, it is important for children to take responsibility for their actions. If a child is going to be late, he/she should notify the adult in charge. When a child damages property, he/she needs to earn money for the repair. And when a child performs poorly on a test, he/she needs to get a poor grade rather than have his/her parent negotiate with the principal.
Stepping out of the micromanagement role is challenging. However, it is easier once we realize our children need an environment that fosters common sense to become truly brilliant.
News Herald – Juliann Talkington
Even though psychologists have been talking about a lack of correlation between college degrees, course grades, and job performance for decades, most companies continue to rely on these credentials and marks to make hiring decisions.
In the past couple of years, however, a few companies have broken rank. Google, a Fortune 500 technology firm, and Ernst and Young U.K., part of one of the world’s largest accounting firms, have publicly announced they no longer require college degrees for employment.
Google’s chairman said the company is more interested in an applicant’s skills, ability to think in a logical way, work ethic, breadth of experience, public speaking abilities, and creativity. Ernst and Young said they are interested in talented individuals regardless of background.
This transformation is due, in large part, to free access of information through the Internet. Over five years ago Bill Gates, a founder of Microsoft, suggested that traditional university education, especially at fixed-place institutions will no longer be necessary, since most of the content will be available online for free.
The college experience is under additional pressure, because college costs are rising at a rate higher than inflation and a college degree no longer guarantees a solid middle-class income. In fact, the College Risk Report (collegeriskreport.com) suggests that the rate of return on most four-year college degrees is worse than 2-year degrees and in some instances worse than no degree at all.
There is a small group of students who receive full ride scholarships to attend college. For these students, the costs are so low that the four-year degree makes financial sense.
Some people assert that college is an excellent place to make contacts. This may be a valid claim for students who are outgoing and takes advantage of all the clubs, speakers, professors, and research opportunities available at a school, but is probably not the case for most students who meet few people outside their dorms and classes.
Without a traditional college education, strong K-12 schooling is imperative since this will be where kids learn basic skills, hone public speaking abilities, refine creative thinking, and develop logical problem solving capabilities. Work ethic can be developed at school, home or in extra-curricular activities like sports. Breadth of experience can occur at school or through outside clubs and activities.
This new employment paradigm suggests we need to worry more about high quality K-12 education and less about college.
Fortune – Anne Fisher
“Plenty of research supports the idea that STEM degrees, although they’re in big demand, are not the only horse in the race. Two recent employer surveys from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, for instance, show that four skills outrank technical knowledge and computer proficiency on employers’ wish lists: Critical thinking/problem-solving, work ethic, teamwork, and strong oral and written communications. Not only that, but those “soft” skills matter more as people progress in their careers…Still worried? Of course you are. So here are three practical suggestions you might pass along to your daughter (if she’ll listen).”(more)
NEW YORK – SHEREEN LEHMAN
“(Reuters Health) – Walking while working, usually on a treadmill, has been gaining popularity in recent years, but the next office innovation should be standing while meeting, according to a new study.Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, report that groups working together on a project while standing are measurably more engaged and less territorial than while seated.“A workspace that encourages people to stand up is going to lead to more collaborative and more creative outputs,” Andrew Knight told Reuters Health in an email”(more)
News Herald – Juliann Talkington
The beginning of the school year is a period of transition, so it is the perfect time for parents to make changes in how they interact with their kids. One of the biggest challenges parents face is helping their children transition from dependent infants to independent adults. The process takes time, constant effort, and many adjustments. Here are a few things parents can do to make the process easier.
Encourage healthy risks
Kids learn by trying new things and build confidence when they successfully handle challenging tasks. The key is to pick tasks that are age appropriate and to coach children as they learn.
Most young people do not develop the same life skills kids did 30 years ago, because adults take care of problems for them. Rather than doing things for their kids, parent should teach them how to handle tasks, conversations, and assignments on their own.
Provide genuine complements
Self-confidence is earned. When parents offer undeserved kudos, kids often develop problems with self-esteem because they realize the complements are not real. As a result, it is better to find things that a child does well and praise them for those things.
Don’t be afraid to disappoint
A child does not have to “love” their parents every minute. Kids will get over disappointment, but they won’t get over being spoiled. Tell them “no” and let them earn what they want and need.
Kids shouldn’t operate in a vacuum. When adults share their mistakes or the mistake of others it helps young people understand the difference between good and bad choices.
Remember giftedness does not equal maturity
Even the brightest children get into trouble when they do not have the skills to navigate complicated social situations. As a result, it is important to add responsibility gradually rather than all at once.
Practice what you preach
Honesty and integrity are valued traits. Parents should do their best to be good examples and acknowledge mistakes when they make them.
Few athletes and performers reach a level where they can make a living on the athletic field or stage. As a result, it is critical for kids to excel in the classroom if they want to find meaningful employment.
Creating a successful adult is challenging, but manageable, when parents focus on coaching and empowering rather than protecting and doing.