In a competitive world where the best achievers usually are rewarded with a better compensation, it is determinant to create the conditions for having more of the best achievers, and this is important from very early ages.
This isn’t always easy. There is a whole science working around the objective to improve the way our kids learn, and to maximize their learning abilities. And although many developments are constantly being made and new teaching materials and techniques adopted, it continues to be very common to hear the older ones saying “The kids today have no learning ethics, back when I was at school we took learning seriously”.
Well, whether this is true or not it is a matter of opinion, however it seems to be a fact that in the history of mankind there have never been so many educated people as today. The question remains though: are our kids learning better than before, or are they just having more chances to advance with their studies than in the past?
The whole base of education starts with the brain and how to train it to think better, faster and learn more. Being successful in this objective means that the educational system has prepared the individual to have a larger mental elasticity and therefore prepared to perform better during the rest of the life. While this may not be so debatable, most of the educational systems actually don’t focus in improving the brain, but rather in using what’s available. This is at the base an improvement area.
Secondly, not all the kids are the same. Some will have higher learning abilities than others, and still the society needs all of them to learn and perform. Many of the learning problems of the kids are related to less developed cognitive skills or dyslexia. In most cases these can be improved with the right brain training and therefore increase their ability to have a stronger academic achievement by improving those cognitive areas where they fail.
Thirdly, by pride or lack of openness to change, the good examples from a few highly performing educational systems aren’t necessarily taken into account. A very good indicator of this is the PISA study which is run every 3 years and is considered as the best comparison of the international educational systems, measured by the students’ achievement in the areas of mathematics, science and verbal abilities. It would be expected that over time the best countries would be copied and matched by the others, however the best performers are roughly the same for years.
There are a few conclusions that this article is aiming. Improving something, whatever it may be, means first of all to understand what is the base point. In the case of education, the brain and cognitive abilities is at the heart of the system. Improving them is the biggest step towards creating the conditions for success. Then a good benchmark is always positive, learn what other countries are doing best, bring the good practices that make the difference. At the end, the objective is to increase the learning abilities of our kids, and give them more tools to succeed during their lives.