Do We Need to Force Learning?

The notion in education world is that, young kids need to go to school to learn. No matter whether they like it or not, they need to go to school, maybe forced to go to school. The notion is that, if these kids aren’t going to school, they are not learning.

The question is, do we really need to force learning? The answer from TED stage would surprise you. Not only that we need to force learning. The fact is that, we can’t stop learning, once the right environment is set up.

The episode Unstoppable Learning from TED Radio Hour will show you the experience of several TED speakers related to young kids and learning. If you are short of time, at least listen to the first part of the talk, about how kids in rural India figure out how to use a computer, set up in foreign language, without any keyboard.

Another section that I would recommend you to listen below: baby start to learn while they are in the womb. There are no way you can stop it.

So, if you have young kids like me, start to give yourself a thought: Is it better to waste your time and resources to force your kids to go to school they never like, or spend your time and resources setting up the right environment for your kids to learn?

Explain Reproduction to 8 years Old

We all know that the time will come when your kids asked you about sex and reproduction. While my time haven’t come yet, I know that when it come, I think I’m going to be only half ready. Not that I’m reserved about sex, but more to the trick to explain about sex and reproduction to my son so that it is more scientifc than vulgar.

Thankfully, Julia Sweeney on his TED talks share her tricks when her 8 years old daughter asked about reproduction. The discussion started from frog reproduction, and leads to human reproduction. Julia share her experience in an amusing talk below

You might want to bookmark her talk, just in case you need to refer it back when the time come.

What I Think About Employing A Child

A podcast by Rich Roll with Stephen Ritz change my view of employing underage teens, or children at large. What Stephen Ritz do, you might ask? Stephen Ritz is a teacher at a South Bronx Elementary School in New York. We all know that Bronx area is known for poverty, gangster and high crime. So, what Stephen Ritz do is transforming South Bronx from inside out. How? He asked his pupil to grow food, in the classroom.

So, yes, Stephen Ritz asked his pupil, underage children, to work as farmer. And it is successfully boost the class attendance from 40% to 93%. “Because these kids got paid”, you think? No. It is because these kids feel a lot of fun in farming.

I think, we should not fight too much against employing kids or underage children. Working, can be part of learning process for kids. There are, however, some limitation for business who employ kids, on what the can, or cannot do with underage employee:

  1. The kids should not get paid. The reward for kids at work should be fun and learning, not financial rewards that most of the time will go to the parents, for the parents to buy cigarettes or liquor. So, no financial rewards!
  2. Because of no financial rewards, there should not be a competitive expectation from these kids.Remember, the work should be fun.
  3. Safe for the kids at their age, physical and mental capability. Just like adults at work, employer should also pay highest attention to ensure the kids’ safety at work.

What do you think? Do you want your kids to be in the workforce?

10 Cell Phone Rules for Parents in Digital Age

A nice infographic was posted by Bright House about the rules of relationship between parents, their cell phone, and kids. Here is the rules below, and my opinion about it.

  1. When your child is talking to him, look at him, not your phone. I definitely agree, not when talking to your kid, but also when talking to other adults!
  2. Follow your children social media and use your phone to check their post. Well, generally, I hate to be nosy. If you choose to do this, do it carefully, as kids hate to be watched. Act like their friends, instead of their guardian
  3. When you’re playing with your kid, don’t check your phone. Totally agree, although I’m still struggling to do this one
  4. Use your phone to share interesting videos to your kid. If you teach your kids to see the phone just like other toy, I wish he will become less addicted to it later on.
  5. Don’t respond, to phone calls, texts or emails at meal time. Agree, although still struggling. Not responding to email, call or text, but playing game on iPad.
  6. When you’re on a walk with your child, don’t use your phone, even if he is sleeping in his stroller. I don’t understand why we should not do this, except that you are crossing the road maybe. In this case, don’t look on your phone when you cross the road, even without your kid.
  7. Text your children just to say hi. It doesn’t cost much time and money, and might raise your son’s eyebrow. But heck, do it anyway.
  8. Video chat with your child when you are away. This what I always do for most of the time. Or at least, give him a call
  9. If you’re using your phone and your child want your attention, put down your phone immediately. And if you are really in important call, take 1-2 minutes to explain why you need to be on the call, and they should wait.
  10. Limit your phone use, so your kid’s memory of you won’t be that you are always on the phone. Couldn’t agree more. Only time will tell what our kid’s memory of us will be

Factory Education and Why It Need to Change

If you never worry about education, now it is time to worry. The business environment is changing, from industrialization to creative economy. But, has our education adapt to the changes? Watch Sir Ken Robinson’s TED Talk in February 2006 below. If you simply in a hurry, skip to after the video, and return later to watch the video. Seriously, Sir Ken Robinson’s talk is hilarious.

I specifically interested on Sir Ken Robinson’s view on education at around 11 minutes into the talk. This is what he said:

“…. The whole (education) system was invented — around the world, there were no public systems of education, really, before the 19th century. They all came into being to meet the needs of industrialism……”

When you think about it, it is quite true. Look on our education today. How are we trying to churn out people with same skill, with the same measurement, namely Grade Point Average. And, in addition to that, how we stigmatized art and social science at lower caste than exact science?

For me, it is no different than how industrialized economy operates to standardize everything. This is how it supposed to work in industrialized economy. In order to produce product with certain standard of quality, you need to employ people with certain standard. This is what our current education system do: to produce graduates with certain quality standard. Anything different from standard will be stigmatized as “below” standard.

This education system, and its output will not survive in creative economy. Workers in creative economy will need to think out of the box. They need to think different from the current standard, to get out of the competition, and create new things. They need to go to uncharted territory, take a chance, and not afraid of being wrong, or risking themselves caught in the fierce competition of industrialized economy.

But sadly, as what Sir Ken Robinson mention earlier, the current education system frown upon those who make mistake, who thinking of other way to do things. This need to change.

So, coming back to ourself, how do we want to raise our son? This is the mental note that we made: We don’t put a high demand on good academy result from our son. We want him to not afraid to take a chance, even if he don’t know or not sure, and not afraid to make mistake