‘Global education system needs major overhaul’

Dubai / WAM

The world’s education system is in urgent need of major reform as it is based on antiquated models of learning, and therefore cannot satisfy the high aspirations and creative potential of newer generations, argued Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman, Scientific Director of the Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, United States.
Making his remarks during a session themed ‘Can Our Education System Destroy the Talent?’ on the opening day of the fifth World Government Summit (WGS 2017) Kaufman said that the prevailing education system uses antiquated ways to test and grade intelligence and aptitude.
He pointed out, “Scoring systems do not adopt a broader view of intelligence, creativity and imagination, three commodities desperately needed in today’s world of extraordinary innovation, which have got lost in the process.”
Emphasising the importance of personal motivation in achievement, Kaufmann made a distinction between ‘small I intelligence’ (iQ) and the ‘big I intelligence’(IQ). While small I comprises everything related to attention, concentration, memory, numeracy, literacy and spatial reasoning, Kaufmann defined big I intelligence as the dynamic interplay of engagement and ability in pursuit of personal goals. He further elaborated, “While small I intelligence focuses on your ability to problem-solve, it is motivation, perseverance, and involvement in a task that ultimately makes you personally motivated towards achieving it.”
Citing examples of students that value a ‘future image of themselves’ as more purpose-driven for achieving success, he said: “More than curriculum, it is important to ask students questions about their dreams, passions and how they imagine themselves to be when they grow up as catalysers for achievement.”
Kaufmann believes, while intelligence matters, the way we measure it is outdated. There needs to be a better correlation between iQ and academic achievement. He also emphasised on the importance of ‘beyonder characteristics’ as the actual measure of lifelong achievement. “Love of work, persistence, purpose in life, deep thinking, tolerance to mistakes, open to change, risk taking, feeling comfortable as being the ‘minority of one’ are individual characteristics which motivate students to fuel their
personal ambitions.”
These characteristics are a better predictor of achievement than IQ, and kids who have them engrained in them since childhood are likely to be overall achievers.”
Further underlining the importance of imagination, Kaufmann spoke about the imagination network that is linked to day dreaming, imagining and planning for the future, retrieval of deeply personal memories and finding a sense of personal purpose.
He said: “People who are open to experience, who reflect and play with ideas, are curious souls with an active imagination, and believe in their personal growth are more likely to find a personal reason to contribute to the society. Magic strikes when these dreamer traits meet the doer determination making the blend of imagination and dream (passion) the most important instrument for lifelong creativity.”

The world government summit has drawn the participation of more than 4,000 personalities from 139 countries around the world, reflecting the leading stature of the summit on regional and international levels and the high interest from governments, global organizations, private and public sector entities, decision makers, entrepreneurs, academics and university students as well as scientists and innovators. #WGS 2017 features 150 speakers across 114 sessions that highlight the world’s most pressing challenges and showcase best practices and cutting-edge solutions to deal with them.

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