How Smart Are We? Kids Are Telling Stuff And We Aren’t Listening

What do you suppose this girl is telling her parent? It could be anything-couldn’t it? Which means it could be how much she is bored with school or how she really doesn’t want to go but knows she has to. It could be about her concerns around learning stuff that really isn’t going to be helpful for her to find a job when she gets bigger or not being able to study or learn about things that are of interest to her. It could be anything.

For those who have followed my blogs (thank you for that by the way) I have been researching and writing about the concerning state of our education system and how we are becoming a figure in many countries rear view when it comes to preparing our kids for the realities of the new economies and global workplaces. Many business leaders, students, experts, and economists are telling us-us being the general public and anyone else who wants to be up-to-date informed about how and where their education dollars are going. Folks it isn’t a beautiful picture.

If you are the least bit interested in where and how your children are being educated and how the global system is demanding much more from our institutions and what we have to do NOW to begin to prepare for the near future I’ll be posting some pieces of my research and a program that a colleague and I have been working on for quite some time. We talk about how to build a new system that will help us improve our global reputation for excellence and prepare our kids so they can be ready to compete for good jobs in the next while. It is called:

“A Forward Thinking Program: A New Look At Educating And Preparing Our Children In The 21st Century”

F.T.P. is a program created from the work of some and the new thinking of others. It is meant to guide learners through the transition from public school-level 8 to high school-level 12 . By participating in this program Learners will be better able to identify their strengths, assets and talents thereby helping them select a career path based on skill, passion and interests rather than a standard curriculum and luck of the draw.

The function of this program is to help learners generate a high level of interest, excitement, self-confidence and a strong desire to learn more. Education, then, needs to be viewed as a life-long learning journey that culminates with the development of responsible, highly functioning and independent adults.

Mission Statement:

“F.T.P. strives to create a superior educational environment where participation in self-directed learning opportunities will prepare learners to compete for challenging, creative, and fulfilling career opportunities at the highest level.”

Goal Statement:

“To offer a new paradigm regarding a free, non-discriminatory national and global learner centered education program that merges enthusiasm, participation and excitement with each learners’ unique learning differences, a capacity for high performance and an innate desire to maximize self”.


“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid”—Albert Einstein, ‘On our education system’


There are many examples of ‘students’ who were considered to be useless, unable to learn or grasp the facts, who lacked the appropriate attitude or discipline to attain higher levels of knowledge and, therefore, would never amount to much . One glaring example of this would be Albert Einstein.

As a child Albert Einstein was seen, judged, thought about and diagnosed to be dull, possibly schizophrenic or autistic, dyslexic, and, because he was slow to talk, was thought to be very slow and somewhat unteachable. He was labelled and treated as ‘unusual’ and perhaps difficult to teach. Needless to say that his early academic life was not one that sought to know his strengths, if he had any. The education system of the day was one which valued rote learning and Einstein saw no value in this type of learning. He believed in independent creative thinking so was seen as a non-conformist-something that was not accepted as a strength. He excelled at math, science and music however and at a very early age applied to the Zurich Polytechnic but failed the entrance exam. Although he was much younger than most of the other applicants he had been unsuccessful because the test was given in French and he barely understood the language.  All that was known was that he was unable to pass the test. He studied French and the next year re-applied. He was granted entry into the program and excelled.

He was tested by those who did not have the expertise to diagnose and therefore labelled someone who would find it difficult to succeed at higher scholastic levels. In 1921 Einstein won the Nobel Prize for developing his law of photoelectric effect. We all know what happened later. He went on to be one of the two most influential minds of the 20th century where physics was concerned. He was a genius who saw things differently from others. He was eventually encouraged to learn, teach and practice in a manner of his choosing based on what made sense to him. He also managed to set the standard for creative problem solving as well. He was truly a free-thinker.

We should learn from his story. The message is mentors and guides need to work with the differences our learners bring. Don’t punish or penalize learners for needing or wanting something different. They are not trying to be difficult–they are just trying to be true to who they are. Perhaps there is another Einstein just waiting out there for an opportunity to shine using his/her own strengths, skills and assets.

Anyways, that’s how I see things. All the best, Jim

Comments would be appreciated. You can direct comments to me at: OR

Please send this along to family and friends or anyone you know who has little people starting school soon–with thanks


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Author Jim Cloughley's 
Brand New Blueprint For Learning