In our March newsletter, we focus on education innovation. To get the latest, I caught up with Tracy Chan, who is Executive Director of Ednovators, an organization fostering cross-sector partnership and collaboration to create and deliver innovation in education. Tracy filled me on the challenges in the current system, the exciting edupreneurs that are working in this space, and also what is needed from teachers, parents and students.
Tracy first explained the current education system, which was established to provide competent workers for industries of the 19th century. Knowledge and skills that are ‘measurable’ via grades and certificates are emphasized, while softer skills that are harder to measure such as creativity, problem solving, emotional intelligence, communication and conflict resolution are left out, or included as optional at best. These soft skills are what employers are looking for, but they are not being valued in schools.
So whose responsibility is this? The blame game usually starts here, where people start pointing fingers. Well, we’re also going to point fingers, but to ourselves. Each of us need to play a part if there are going to be changes to this system.
One of the stakeholders are educators – teachers and principals. They are usually under pressure to get their students to perform well. Despite this pressure, there are still rays of hope. A well known example is Principal Chu of Rainbow Baptist school, who is inspiring his students through introducing a variety of technologies and STEM education into the school’s curriculum. In order to drive more of this type of pioneering work, Good Lab member Ednovators is now preparing its first cohort of InnoPower@JC. This is an one-year fellowship program where the teachers will get inspired about innovation from local and overseas, with the end goal of creating and piloting an education innovation within their own schools. We’re looking forwards to what these teachers will come out with!
For parents, it’s important for them to have a supportive community. Many parents want the best for their kids. However, the reality is that with both parents juggling full time work, it’s hard to find ‘what’s best’ when each child is so different. Also, parents feel ill equipped to be part of the educational journey of their kid. Ediversity, another one of our members at the Good Lab focus on this issue. They are a group that believes that each child’s education should reflect their unique talents and identity. They are a group of parents that decided to come together and discuss these issues, determined to find better solutions to what ‘the mainstream media’ was telling them was right.
For students, the current narrative is too much driven by experts, with not enough input from students themselves. Students have limited decision making power in regards to curriculum or education choices. When education is designed for our young generation, it’s also essential to integrate students’ voices into the education conversation. A group of passionate secondary and university students started The Edu Lab with the aim to inspire students to understand, explore and reflect on their own learning journey and its relationship with the society, and empower them to take initiatives to realize the ideal education for young people.
Here at the Good Lab, several of our members are focusing on the sphere of education. In addition to Ednovators, Oh My Kids, Study Advisory and Interface Education are three other members that are working and trying to shift the paradigms and mindsets in education and parent. If you’re interested in education innovation, please do give us a shout and we’ll see who we can connect you with!
photo credit: http://www.lifevestinside.com