Apples and Oranges

Alternating apple and orange slices stacked together.

Education is a very important part of life. Traditionally we think of school, then University for some, as making up our formal education. But, of course, we all know that continued self-education is vital to our development. I am highly passionate about education, which is why I created Tribunity in 2009.

Is that your reality? Is that how people feel working around you, with you, or for you?

Let me share some ideas from a discussion I had with my family over breakfast recently. We were discussing whether my daughter should be forced to read things that did not engage her, as part of the State’s English curriculum.

Influential writer and thinker, Peter Drucker, once observed that “when a subject becomes totally obsolete, we make it a required course.” His point was that when we have to force young people to take a subject, there is something wrong with the subject, not the students. If a topic is relevant and important in contemporary society, then perhaps it should speak for itself without needing teachers as enforces to make pupils do their work.

Many young people do not find Shakespeare or algebra to be interesting or relevant to their lives, but others really enjoy it. Is it still an important part of our culture? Certain basics should be mandatory but sometimes we need to be encouraged by more engaging teachers (or leaders). Teachers that also “encourage” us to try new things outside our comfort zone, thus allowing us to stretch ourselves and grow.

I believe we must always do so with a person’s individuality respected and catered to.

There is a huge amount of research that suggests core tasks and subjects are heavily focused around certain types of intelligence. The theories of Howard Gardener are relevant here. He was the first to suggest that there are multiple types of intelligence that children have. Along with traditionally valued ‘logical-mathematical’ reasoning and ‘linguistic (language ability’ are other talents that individual brains can be geared towards, such as:

  • Spatial intelligence, which involves skill in design and navigation
  • Musical intelligence, which includes an aptitude for detection of rhythm, pitch, etc
  • Interpersonal intelligence, which allows for better communication and understanding of others
  • Intrapersonal intelligence, which includes improved self-reflection and self-control
  • Naturalistic intelligence, which is centred on a connection to the earth and an understanding of the environment
  • Bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence, which involves extraordinary physical coordination, timing, and the ability to learn complex technical routines
  • Existential intelligence, which is the capacity to think about abstract concepts such as spiritual, metaphysical, or undetectable forces such as quantum physics and spiritual matters.

This revolutionary idea has been slow to gain traction in education systems around the world. However, when we find a group of people or students that are highly achieving, feeling highly engaged, and happy, we notice that the learning environment that are under has a strong structure to accommodate individuality and flexibility. “Google” as a company comes to mind here.

If we are strong to encourage and inspire our children to grow into adults with a strong sense of who they are and an ability to live a happy and fulfilled life, we have to be serious abut nourishing their true self-esteem by having their individual style of intelligence considered by their teachers and at home.

Allowing students greater choice in what and how they learn and actually having a system encouraging people to follow their interests and abilities from the top down would lead to great improvement in people’s quality of life and their own sense of self. As the list above illustrates, we aren’t measuring intelligence in a meaningful way, and this is having a negative effect on the way a large and important part of our lives is working.

And if you think this is all just intellectual rubbish… Why are over 56% of the Australian workforce arriving at their desks every day DISENGAGED and UNPRODUCTIVE?

Why do so many people living in this amazing, great country feel lost and are quietly or publicly sad and unhappy?

At some stage in life, we have to face the facts and be courageous enough to accept the past for what it is, but fight to create and develop ourselves, and the people we are responsible for, in ways that empower.

When I was a leader at Pacific Direct Line (my Shipping & Transport company), I fought most for the individuals that worked for us. My most important role, as I saw it, was to support, encourage, and motivate them each day. It was not all about the EGO of leadership or teaching, but more about the RESPONSIBILITY that I saw was mine: to nurture talent and individuality in each person so that they want to come to work passionate every day.

That is why I created tribunity Human Empowerment. I believe that human development and empowerment is very much tied to facilitating passion and talent. These values are just as relevant to adults in the workplace as to children and students.

I encourage my readers to think hard about their time at school and how much of it was spent looking out the window learning something that you either weren’t interested in, never used later in life, or both. Think about ways that you can work with people’s innate strengths and talent too teach, achieve, and grow.

To learn more about how some of these ideas can improve your business, your life, or the balance between the two, get in touch with me for an open discussion of how we can work together. Tribunity’s purpose is “business and Human Empowerment”. I mentor and serve as a business adviser to a large cross section of industries, from Real Estate, Investment, Transport, Shipping, Retail, and more, as well as with individuals and teams. I am an experienced corporate speaker specializing in topics such as leadership, mindset, communication, business ethic, diversity, and team engagement.

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“You are not a drop in the ocean,
you are the entire ocean in a drop”

– 13thcentury Persian poet Rumi