How many industries that are still around from 100 years ago are making their products the same way? None! Every day we wake up to news about dramatic shifts in job markets and how jobs are slowly being replaced by robots. Are we educating our kids to succeed in this new era? In one talk from last year’s event, mother and daughter duo share their perspectives on their experiences with the education system in Hong Kong and how they choose to define their own learning experience in one of the most competitive cities in the world.
Just like any 11 year old, Hillary thought education was synonymous with school – but that changed when she started her senior school. The environment encouraged competition, and Hillary found herself torn between acceptance vs not wanting to be like the popular gang. Being curious and passionate about learning wasn’t “cool” anymore and the feeling of not fitting in got so overwhelming that Hillary’s confidence faded away. Friends drifted apart and she succumbed to bullying – that’s when her parents pulled her out of the school and gave her a 3-month break.
What happened in the 3-month break was an eye opener for Joey, Hillary’s mom. Joey had intentionally changed the way Hillary learnt from passive to active. Hillary was free to choose the subjects that genuinely interested her. Her renewed attitude towards learning, the sparkle in her eyes when she went on and on about politics and psychology made Joey see learning in a new light.
Hillary loved that she could deep dive into the subject and learn everything about it, something she couldn’t do in school. A couple of years prior to this, Hillary took part in a kids entrepreneurship program,where she came up with the idea to connect kids across the world for meaningful exchanges and collaborative learning, a project she called Minor mynas. She felt more like herself in the business world than she did in school. The working world had welcomed her with open hands and she found mentors that selflessly guided her. She learnt the importance of taking risks and venturing out of her comfort zone and doing new things.
With the new found confidence from what Hillary achieved during her break, the family took a leap of faith and started homeschooling Hillary and her brother Alexis. With homeschooling Hillary is able to pursue academics more intensely than before. She gets to pursue her interest classes and work on her side projects. She makes time to focus on Minor mynas and has built it into a full-fledged start up. She loves the fact that she has the freedom to choose what she wants to learn and manage her time. Not attending school doesn’t deprive her of social interactions either as the homeschooling community organizes joint activities for kids including play dates and sleepovers with friends.
Personally for me (the author of this post), the key reminder of this amazing TEDx talk was that education is all about learning to prepare for the future. It’s about customizing learning to the student’s interests, pace and strength. Education should be about giving the child a childhood to learn and explore through. So do not put your child’s education on auto pilot – take charge and give them the time and space to explore their interests and build qualities that will blossom them into a well rounded,successful individuals.
Written by: Sowjanya on behalf of TEDxTinHauWomen