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The perks of being not “school-smart”

Author: Sun Yuanxin / Founder of StoryChopsticks

In the past 3 weeks, me and my team had the privilege to speak to all our customers. As Many of you have expressed concerns over your children’s overly tight schedule, I would like to share my own experience with you.

I have a 9-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy. Since birth, they provided me with fresh perspectives of the young minds. These young minds are often naturally inquisitive, spontaneous, and creative. They cut their shirts into an interesting fashion, composed random songs, or created a full adventure picture book. They are never afraid of making mistakes – a poorly cut shirt means edgier fashion.

Like many other parents, I once filled my kids’ schedule with tuition since the start of primary school. The peer pressure of getting “good grades” is huge, especially in Asia.

However, that has returned with a problem – my children lost their interest and turned off their active mind. They dread going to classes and are often grumpy during study hours. It didn’t take long for me to find out that is due to the dull way a subject was taught, with tedious, repetitive exercises, and a curriculum that focuses more on knowledge than fun.

Unfortunately for most school work, questions have standard answers, and children are not supposed to color out of this line set by curriculum designers.

What’s wrong with that?

In his TED talk Sir Ken Robinson stated that current education has tremendous flaws in fostering creativity and imagination. The world needs creative minds to solve problems in the new age.

He energized the audience with ideas such as adding art and dance as part of core curriculum, for he believes “ we are actively educating people out of their creative capacities, but in my opinion, creativity is as important to education as literacy,”

There are several reasons behind this notion:

Creativity is the survival skill for the future

The future world will be dominated by AI. When robots take over mundane, repetitive jobs, what’s left for humans? What is the one thing that humans can do that robots cannot?

Change in education is happening

As many have noticed the academic inflation and soaring demand in newer fields, the current way of education is not supplying this ever-changing world with ready talents. We will soon have to change the way we measure talents.

Intelligence is diverse, dynamic and distinct

We have been uniformly educating our children to be good at math, science, and literacy. However, free expression, creativity and imagination will be put in equal status in the future as we can find better ways to apply these talents

As a mom, I understand your concerns over the current problem – grades. However, please do allow some time for your children to be free in their thinking, expression, creation and imagination.

Inspired to make a difference, I quit my lecturer’s job and started my own company teaching children creativity/imagination while learning Chinese. 

It was a high risk journey I took on burning financial and energy resources, and the high likelihood of failure daunts me and my team all the time. But the meaningful creation of a school fostering useful soft skills of the future generation motivates us every day.

Thank you for being part of our journey.

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