Updating our Concept of What Constitutes the Richness of Human Capacity


We need to update our concept of what constitutes the richness of human capacity.

Before the 19th century there really wasn’t a public education system. It wasn’t until the industrial revolution began in earnest did the concept of education as we know it today exist. Today as it was in the 19th century, our education system is based on the idea of academic ability. This idea of academic ability came into being to meet the needs of industrialization. At the top of the hierarchy of subjects are those most useful for work… math, science (today), languages. Towards the bottom are the arts. Why is this?

For most of our educational history, students have been steered away from subjects that they where not likely to get a job at. Academic ability dominated our view of intelligence where essentially the education system is a protracted university/college entrance process. Once you emerged from university or whatever beverage induced fog that constituted 4 years of modern day education, the idea was that you were now ready to assist the modern industrialized society with your well honed skills.

This concept worked for well over a 100 years. However, this looks less and less likely to be the only choice for today and going forward into the future. Thousands of grads are not only finding it a tremendous challenge to find work, but they are finding that by following the standard line of “get a degree and get a job” is either not working or not working for them. Our view of what constitutes intelligence is going to have to change — and will need to continue to do so. According to UNESCO, over the next 30 years, more people worldwide will graduate from school than since the beginning of history!

To further illustrate this, today where a Bachelor of Arts used to be enough, a Masters of Education is required. The same is true for positions where a Masters was sufficient and a Doctorate is now required. This concept of academic inflation illustrates the basic tenant of our academic ability dominated view of intelligence. We are going to need to re-think our view of what intelligence is — or continue down a path where individuals will be required to have multiple doctorates in order to meet the requirements of tomorrow’s positions!

We know that intelligence is diverse. We think kinesthetically, visually, in abstract terms and so forth. Our intelligence is interactive — it is what ties the various forms together and makes each person distinct or unique. It is this uniqueness that needs to be celebrated. It is our uniqueness that defines what intelligence is to each individual — not whether we fit into the mold that has dominated our education system for the last 150+ years.

Going forward, we are going to need to change our view to allow this broader concept of interactive intelligence to eventually dominate the world view. This will allow our children to succeed at what they do distinctly best; therefore we are going to need to update our concept of what constitutes the richness of human capacity.

At Aim, we believe in helping to put the learning pieces together for you. We will spend the time with you and your child to understand what unique skills they have, identify areas of need and integrate the results into an individualized learning program.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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