Chasing academic A’s limits possibility

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Education, as we have known it for the past 100 years, seems fixated on academic prowess. The percentage on the report card has, in most cases, been the benchmark by which we believe we can determine if a child will become a successful adult, or not. Self-worth is too often determined by academic assessments. Emotional walls are built, intelligence is defined, negative behaviours are acted upon, anxieties and depression are pandemic in young people – all because of society’s fixation on that percentage on the report. 

And yet……… HOW can the chase after academic A’s equal success as human beings on this planet?  HOW can intelligence be defined by academic prowess alone?  What about the dancers, the musicians, the actors, the inventors, the artists? What about the ‘misfits’ who think differently, who dream creatively and whose imaginations run wild with ideas and possibility? What about the child who works very hard to achieve a 60%?  How can we determine success by academic achievement alone?  The simple answer is that we cannot!

Here are some important tips to consider.

  1. All children are born unique. Just like a flower blooms in its own time, teach your students to become the best version of who they are in everything they do.
  2. We all base choices on how we feel about ourselves. Teaching children to value their unique selves will allow them to explore unimagined possibilities without the limitations of academic-focused success. A strong sense of self -worth will result in greater confidence, a better work ethic and a happier child. 
  3. Teach your students to give of their best. Set realistic goals and celebrate when these are achieved.  It is the very act of motivated, determined effort that will equate to success, not the percentage achieved!
  4. Emotional intelligence skills are essential. Self-awareness, self-regulation, self-motivation, empathy, and social skills outperform academic percentages in ensuring success-every time.
  5. Teach your students to celebrate the success of others—no matter what areas these may be in—just as they celebrate their own successes.
  6. Know that the only limitations that we have in life are the ones that we place on ourselves!  By focusing ONLY on academic percentages in determining future success, we limit possibility.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” Rob Siltanen