Excerpt from Sayling Wen’s 2000 book, the Future of Education. The same can be said of education throughout Asia.
Education’s greatest limitation today lies in its curriculum. Whether you like it or not you have got to study all the given subjects. Some students are forced to do what is clearly not their forte, and so they refuse to learn. Or perhaps we need not really delve so deeply into some subjects. If we can adopt the self-motivation method and give the curriculum more flexibility, we can both develop the students’ potential as well as enable him to learn what may be of practical use. We may reconcile the 2 theories (Knowledge-oriented Education & Multidirectional Balanced Development) even without the help of computer technology. But with the help of computer technology the results would be even better. For instance, a student with a great interest in vehicles could virtually handle cars on the computer, going through all the vehicle maintenance procedures.
We are on the verge of radical shifts in our education systems, and not everyone will be happy to see them develop.
The pace of change mandates that we produce a faster, smarter, better grade of human being. Current systems are preventing that from happening. Future education systems will be unleashed with the advent of a standardized rapid courseware-builder and a single-point global distribution system. In the future, we predict students entering the workforce will be ten times smarter than they are today.
Not long after I decided to vent my frustration at the amateurs who are going to give e-learning a bad name, I came across Thomas Frey’s blog on Future Education. Well, actually, I wouldn’t be able to come across it had I not been so frustrated about my lack of ability to come up with a solid and grounded infrastructure to flesh-out an ideal I had set out on a year before. Thomas Frey’s paper was the most conclusive article on the Future of Education I could find out there. Or maybe it was just the most aligned to my conceptions of what I wanted the future of education to look like for me.
Two years ago I set-up a small ESL learning center to serve as a sort of incubator center for me to continue observing the language and cognitive processes of young people at the threshold of young adulthood. What would happen if I could work outside the constraints of the education system? What if I could control as many variables as possible? Could I achieve a lot more with a lot less?
I didn’t really think this was a point worth writing about – the obstacles I face explaining what exactly English for Asians stand for. Here’s a roundup :
- to create an environment to extend and constantly evolve communicative, collaborative and creative efforts in thinking and learning.
- to be an outcomes based, not exam-based learning paradigm.
- to nurture and develop abilities, self-directedness and higher order thinking
- to achieve the above with content leveled to the abilities of ESL learners.
- to provide additional support outside of F2F and/or sync/async learning.
Let me tell you what I’m up to. As some of you might know, I have been trying to bring world-class English language learning into our classrooms hoping to prepare learners for the 21st Century. In the past 2 years, I have been running my own Incubator Language Center to experiment with how Chinese-speakers improve the best. I have come up with very useful information and experience to help EVERYONE succeed. I have found an approach which GUARANTEES success in learning.
I’ve been doing quite a lot of catching-up in the last couple of months. Doing all of that in a backward little ancient city island like Penang kept me dangerously complacent about the rapid changes happening between 2000 – 2009. Web 1.0 (1989-1999) was nothing to shout about but I left the big city when Web2.0 turned many things on their head.