Thursday, March 17, 2016

Random thoughts: Preparing for a future job? Or preparing for a future life

In my line of work, there is always this "rara" sharing for us to have a big picture view about education of the global landscape.

I think many have heard this "clinch" that we are preparing our pupils for jobs that might not exist now. Just google 21 century skills and you are presented with skills that are supposed to fuel the future economy or skills that are in demand in future.

I consider myself cynical, and always have many questions spinning in my head whenever I go through these sessions. I am not longer so gullible and is very amused when they keep using corporate examples in their presentations.

Anyway, I side-tracked.

My point is, can we really prepare pupils for future job? We could, but it is really about skills? I think skills future is a wonderful platform. But at school level, we talk about creativity and future skills like we are economists, creating jobs is a sub-set of economics, we should focus really on values, and prepare pupils for life.

I am quite sick when the presentation show statics about how much pay a graduate earn more than others. By the way, I don't need to know it is 14% in Britain, and it is common sense. Is life about work and job?

If I am not a graduate, I am supposed to struggle in life? Well, I definitely want all my pupils to have good grades and have an OPTION to pursue mainstream options.

Sorry, I have not get to the point yet.

There is no need to change the way we teach. I am not against change and being better in ICT or the whatever. I am singing education at its core, is able preparing pupils for life.

When we prepare pupils for exam, we encourage, we ask pupils to preserve. I want my pupil to appreciate and embrace life as it is, with it sweetness and bitterness, see world as colored, and not just black, white and grey.

We do not change, because the economy is changing or the latest trend in technology is changing.

How? Is computer literacy the medicine? Is project work the solution?

I think it is about connections, relationship and role-modeling. These old fashioned nonsense. Guess I will be out of work soon, since in the presentation, I, like NOKIA, did not embrace change when others did.


  1. Sillyinvestor,

    You hit the nail on its head!

    School to me is about teaching me the hard skills to Read, Write, and Count.

    But more importantly, its about imparting the soft kills as in Values - like how to be a good citizen, a good member of society, etc.

    The former Chinese schools and Christian missionary schools have done a better job on values.

    Just look at our engineers now. Especially the retrenched ones. Should they confront their schools or teachers?

    Keep the "snake-oil koyok" out of primary and secondary schools. If we can make learning fun and a life long pursuit, the students will know how to handle their own career choices; and if need be, make mid-life changes along the way.

    Crash got sound one.

  2. Hi SI,

    Good post. It's not about preparing them for work. It's about preparing them for life. Hence, values first, grades second. Some sch have got it all mixed up. Some parents also got it all mixed up. I think I've seen enuff examples of 'failing' students succeeding wildly in life, almost like a fish out of water but thrown back in.

    Wish there are more educators like you got ur heart in the right place.

  3. LP and SMOL,

    Thank you for your affirmation LOL.

    If there are really more like me, think the fraternality will be in chaos lol

  4. SMOl and LP,

    Share something else with u. It is shared that the difference in rate of learning between the most effective teacher and the least effective teacher is 4 folds

    Meaning a good teacher can make a pupil learn in half a year whereas a weak teacher will take 2 years.

    Maybe I am
    Not as confident as in the past. I told my colleagues while the difference is glaring. I thought if pupils still learned at the end of day, is still good after 2 years.

    My colleagues a bit speechless with what I said.

  5. Hello :)

    Just finished the Parent Teachers Meeting end of term 1.

    Very often, the student is a reflection of the parents. The parents are kiasu or bochap, the kids mirror them.

    As teachers, we are tasked to build the workforce of the future. But the greatest influence on the students are their parents. They set the foundation, the cornerstones. Maybe the parents will be better parents if our society focuses more on the correct things?

    Read in today's papers " while money is important, it is not everything". If we focus more on the right things, maybe educators can do a better job :)

    1. Angel,

      You teach gifted pupils? How come u have PTM termly.

      Actually I would think teachers share a very big influence, most prob the biggest after parents.

      My take is this:
      If parents are poor and bo chap, pupils are ok as they become street smart

      If parents are poor and kiasu,the pupils are also ok

      If prenta are rich and kiasu, the kids are better off academically because of the pumping

      The worst combo is rich and Bochap, u get the worst softie

  6. When I look at what my kids are learning at school it appears to me that the Singaporean education system is preparing the kids with skills on how to earn money. That's their focus. But they totally lack the part on how to spend money.

    When I spoke to someone from MOE about this (no names, please) I got the thought provoking reply (re-phrasing loosely): "Oh, we do expect the kids to learn how to spend money wisely from their parents."

    Hmm, but when the parents have not learn that skill at school themselves what kind of financial literacy could they possibly pass on to their kids??

    Want to learn about the Magic of Compounding? Anyone?

    1. Seriously Tacomob,

      When almost all teachers think banking is super lucrative job and always saying loosely if I am in for the money, I will join the banking / private sector ...

      I always mock in my mind... Go go go... You here also Cow bei Coe Bu ...

      They always think those who in banking or investing are super rich can earn big bucks...

      I earn my "big bucks" working, not investing

      Investing skills is secondary than money management skills.

      If most teachers are not money savvy? What say the children. When a big shot visit the school, I did mention the seemingly disconnect between the nation readiness in retirement or emergency despite being one of the highest per capital economy, there is a need for deeper financial literacy in terms of money value.

      My P gave me a stare and my CCE HoD is quick to point out there is financial literacy programme ... And gave me the look like how come I dun know about the program...

      Nvm... Spend money, spend life spend time ... Many kids are either disillusioned or very hang out on the small details ...

      Hmm... The MOe guy is a teacher or some higher up there people?

      Maybe u can talk some sense to them ?? LoL

    2. The MOE guy is a teacher who is also involved in curriculum development for PoA.

      Well, I guess they don't take my comments seriously, as I am the Ang Moh who never went through the Singaporean education system.

      Wait a minute. That could be a reason to hear me out, or not?

  7. Tacomob,
    I see, among teachers, we all hold very diverse views on education ... Which is good I guess.

    There are teachers who tell pupils if I dun work hard, u will become sweepers or have difficulty finding works. ( it depends more on economy )

    They are also those who think they are losing out on their peers with their miserable pay ... I am
    Not talking about youngster who think the world is their oyster, but someone older with a higher grade. Let it go doesn't have to do with age

    So that POA teacher... Since he being to curriculum side, should be also a high potential figure in the fraternality ...

    Actually I believe educators should listen to everyone ... Ang mo included, no offense ! But stop trying to emulate the Coporate values

    1. The height of idiorasy is when school need to do Singapore service class assessment

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