PISA, OECD’s program for international student assessment, measures the ability of 15-year-olds to use their reading, math and science knowledge and skills to meet real-life challenges. Its league results table suggests which of the 90 participating countries has been able to improve their education systems and student performance.
But when we look back at people throughout history who have had a significant impact on society, it is not their schooling, math or science exam results that measure their success.
A well-known Nobel laureate in physics was told by a teacher at his school that he would “do nothing at all.” For Albert Einstein, it was his fascination with the invisible power that confused the needle of a compass and a book of science that aroused a lifelong fascination with the world around him. But how do we balance the core curriculum and the hard and soft skills of a child, the invaluable importance of developing their curiosity and their creativity?
The OECD has begun work to refine its assessment to measure proficiency outside of basic literacy in reading, math and science. Future PISA exams will include measurements of creative thinking (PISA 2022). The OECD’s ‘Social and Mental Skills Survey’ report states that education no longer contributes to academic success but also helps students develop empathy, confidence and the social and emotional skills needed to navigate the adult world with a strong character. It’s also about respecting other cultures and religions – something that may be missing from our school and larger society.
But is this enough to go away?
Renowned psychologist and child development theorist Jean Piaget made a very emotional statement when he said, “Our real problem is – what is the goal of education? Are we creating children who are only already familiar with what they are capable of learning? Or should we try to develop a creative and innovative mind, one that is capable of being discovered throughout life from preschool age? ” Each year, the K-12 curriculum is revised and refined while the assessment absorbs more deeply the information conveyed to each child. But what Piaget will encourage is that education leads children to open their inquisitive minds so that they can explore, evaluate and discover the world in which they live.
I do not suggest that school children should not learn basic basic skills, but if they can learn beyond the limitations and restrictions of the modern classroom, will not their academic, social and mental skills become stronger and better involved? This is something that most teachers will agree with, but does not have the power to change government and social expectations.
Creating skills beyond academic success
I was not a very good student at school. The class didn’t excite or interest me. I couldn’t figure out how the things we were learning would affect my life. These limitations of today’s education system ignited my interest in the way Think Global Schools (TGS) taught. I was lucky enough that my parents first heard about school and saw the potential; It clearly seemed like a better, holistic, and more interesting way of learning that they hoped would inspire me.