Shifting the Education Paradigm

Just over a month ago, I did a presentation at Hubud on Shifting Educational Paradigms. I was astounded by the overwhelming response I received from entrepreneurs, teachers, thought leaders and counsellors in the room who supported my perspective. Just like me, these thought leaders agreed that some serious changes needed to reform our current way of educating kids and youth.

During this presentation, one of the key questions I asked was, ‘how many people knew what career they wanted to pursue when they finished school?’ About 5% of people put their hand up. It’s is a clear sign that something is not working in the current system, if after twelve years of school, a large majority of people are unaware of their desired career.

In an ideal world, we would hope that young people finish school knowing,

  1. their key strengths

  2. their personal qualities

  3. self belief in their own competency

  4. strategies to achieve the career of their dreams

  5. how to overcome emotional obstacles

My perspective is that the current mainstream education model needs to find a better balance between left and right brain development for students to thrive in this world. Strategic, structural and logical thinking are all of the left brain and are mostly present in Maths, Science, English and Social Sciences. These are the predominant subjects taught in mainstream schooling and are also labelled as ‘core subjects’ rendering them ‘more important’ than other creative focused subjects. Unfortunately, by creating this imbalance of focus on one area of the brain, kids and youth leave school without the necessary foundation skills to live a happy life and meaningful career. We have both left and right sides of the brain and therefore need to develop both sides equally if we are to live a balanced and healthy life.

Right brain thinking is based on emotional intelligence, empathy, spirituality, intuition, creativity and fluidity. Classes that focus on these skills are given much less focus than academic subjects. Many of us think that time is wasted creating art, music or pursuing creative endeavours. We have been taught that pursuing these subjects as careers don’t make money. This belief inevitably leads to people having high rates of anxiety and depression because they are not allowing themselves to have a creative outlet. We are creative beings by nature, therefore we are denying our very nature by denying ourselves the right to create.

We need to be creative, not only for our own mental health and to feel happy in the world, but also our creative talents can guide us to pursue lucrative and meaningful careers. As long as you are providing value to someone, you can sell and make money from anything if you have the right skills to do so. Not only do we need right brain thinking for our creativity, we need these skills to help us make informed decisions from our heart when it comes to life and career choices. If we make career decisions entirely based on logic, it will not lead us in the direction of happiness. Traditionally, right brain development could be found in religious education however in our modern age, many are turning away from standardised religion due to its contradictory nature.

With the disintegration of people conforming into popular religions, there is need for spiritual awareness in new ways. We have lost our connection to the core roots of where we come from, our universal existence, our connection to each other, and to the Earth. Without this universal awareness, we are led astray in this world. Rational, left brain thinking alone is not enough to guide us in this life. There are many things we cannot and will never know in our everyday living and the sooner we truly acknowledge this, the easier we can flow with life.

Mindfulness, emotional and self awareness is needed to provide an interconnectedness between our left and right brain. Such insights are pivotal to providing new ways of teaching kids and young people how to thrive in this world. I believe these are the foundational skills for life and some schools may be at risk of not providing balanced education in our modern age.


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