today the rules have changed

A few weeks ago I was talking with a client about a topic that is near and dear to my heart – education.

One of the things that amazes me is just how out of touch our education systems are with reality.

Schools are meant to give us the foundations with which we can build our futures on.

And yet, despite all the economic and technological changes that have taken place in the past thirty years our schools continue to teach us the same subjects year in and year out.

I am one of the staunchest believers in education but at the same time I do believe what we learn at school today just isn’t enough to compete in such a competitive world.

Here are just a few of the things I believe our education systems seem to have overlooked:

  • Money
  • House loans
  • Interviews
  • Taxes
  • Life

We learn how to calculate the intersection of a line and parabola and we can recite all the 50 states and their capitals (or something similar in your own country) but when would we ever need that?

If we become a math teacher or a history teacher they may come in handy but what practical application does it have in most of our lives?

We learn how to memorize facts rather than discuss why they happened in the first place. We can pass a test all alone but don’t know how to work as a team.

The crazy thing is that it works. Or maybe I should rephrase that – it worked.

Today the world has changed.

Over the holidays I had a chance to visit my mother and I asked her a question that I’d never asked her or anyone else before. The question was – “Economically speaking, what was the best time in your life to have lived?”

She thought about it for a second and then said, “It would have to have been in the 60s. Jobs were everywhere. You could quit your job anytime because another one was waiting for you, often better paid. The world was undergoing change and the Vietnam War was raging on so we had this new movement for peace.”

The future was bright back then.

Today we live in a different world. Fear and apprehension about the future is everywhere.

But no matter how bleak things may seem we must always remember one simple law – nothing lasts forever.

The good times will come again and those people who take the time now to prepare for them will be able to take full advantage of them.

Schools are here to stay, and changing the system could take years if not decades so that’s out.

But there is one thing we can change today if we so desire – we can change ourselves.

We can begin making the changes today that will determine our tomorrows.

One step today might not seem like much but it gets us one step closer to our destination.

Take a step towards success.

Take a step towards good health.

Take a step towards your dreams.

It may not seem like much, but every journey does begin with that first step. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get started.

Adrian Shepherd

1 thought on “today the rules have changed”

  1. Good advice Adrian. On the topic of schools, it is so true. What we really do not learn and practice enough in school is the application of knowledge. Looking at education here in Japan, I can see that this is missing too. Students are mostly tested on facts that they memorize. They are seldom asked to form and support an opinion….even at the university level. When it comes to language education, they are all required to learn English and English grammar to the nth degree but do not seem to be required to apply what they learn. Six years or more without application is very surprising. I think those who lived in the Meiji times may have been better at applying the English knowledge they gained but at that time a lot of knowledge came to Japan in books written in English and other foreign languages, so there was a real necessity to apply the English and other foreign language skills they learned.

    The funny thing is that with Japan’s population aging and shrinking every year along with the market for Japan’s products, the need to be able to apply English and other foreign language skills is becoming much greater than ever before, but the education system seems stuck in acquiring only the passive skills of reading and listening. Well, if you are not asked to form and express an opinion, I guess you do not need to be able to write or speak about it. As educators, we need to make our students aware of this growing need and try to positively affect their efforts to prepare for a brighter future. Some things in life require effort and are not just given to us. We have to take action to achieve them. No pain, No gain!

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