Grads of Life

Many of us grow up with the expectation of our parents; to get a ‘good education’.  Beyond our general health and well-being, it’s probably their most weighted desire.

We spend the majority of our childhood time in the educational system, unless we are homeschooled or in another alternative scenario.

We all have our own idea of what ‘getting a good education’ means, and those standards and perspective vary between individuals. However, there still seems to be a lot of similarity and overlap, based on the many people I encounter through the Brain Fitness work I do.

For most people, getting a good education typically means obtaining good grades and receiving positive reviews about our attitude, effort, and performance from our teachers.

Can you relate to this definition as a child growing up or even from your current adult perspective?

While grades and classroom rapport are important, perhaps there is more to learning than that…

Did you know that there are two Latin roots for the word “education”?

  • Educareto train or to mold
  • Educereto lead out

As you may notice, these definitions represent very different perspectives on education.

The first one, ‘educare’, refers to sculpting a learner’s brain.  It carries the connotation that something is being done ‘to’ the learner by an outside person or force.  This makes me think of ‘transference’ of information from teacher to student and the emphasis on ‘book smarts’.

This is in contrast to the second definition, ‘educere’, which implies there is natural born intelligence that simply needs to be activated or brought forth.  In this regard I think of this type of learning, through engagement and hands-on experience, as acquiring ‘street smarts’.

In my opinion, education is a combination of both.  If I had to pick one method over the other, I would choose the ‘educere’ root and route!  The personal reason is that anything I’ve really come to understand and to do well has been from being hands on, with practise, repetition and tweaking as I grow.

Besides, does it really serve the learner to be viewed as an empty vessel waiting to be filled anyway? 

Each individual has so much natural inborn intelligence!  Those who spend time with young children know this firsthand as they are often referred to as “wise beyond their years”.  Furthermore, you are often surprised by their insights and perceptions.

When given the right environment, role models and opportunities, it’s amazing what will come forth.  Best of all, this type of learning can happen anywhere, not just in the “mortar and bricks” of a school system.

While I understand, and have personally benefitted from, the merits of traditional educational systems, it is not the only route to learning or to becoming qualified in a skill or field.

Do you have an acquired skill or expertise that you achieved but did not go to school to acquire? 

Perhaps it just came naturally to you, or you practised a lot, or you learned it thanks to the tutelage of a mentor…

In my daughter’s grade 4 year she delivered an outstanding presentation to her class titled, “The year I didn’t go to school”.  It was based on her own true story of being homeschooled and spending half her days volunteering on a horse farm.  It was filled with humour and insights. She delivered the presentation like a pro. As I listened to it, I began to deeply know how much she had gained from this experience.

Grads of Life

I recently heard of an organization called ‘Grads of Life’ who represent an untapped and overlooked talent pool of young adults who are driven, motivated and have a wealth of valuable life experience.

These young adults often juggle multiple jobs and responsibilities, such as family members or their own children.  As they lack access to professional networks and higher education, they are all too often dismissed by traditional hiring methods.

The ‘Grads of Life’ platform connects employers with the programs that prepare and train these young adults to be valuable employees from day one.

How exciting is it that an organization like this exists that values a person’s real world experiences and builds upon this learning?!

How many people do you know who are extremely ‘book smart’ with high grades and lots of letters after their name but who struggle with daily life responsibilities, social interactions and who lack confidence in taking action in the world?

Although they certainly have lots of wonderful knowledge to offer, they don’t have the ‘street smarts’ to be wholly successful in their lives.

When it comes down to it, there is only so much we can learn from textbooks and lectures. At some point we need to live in the real world and learn from it. 

As they say, “Experience is the Best Teacher.”

To being a Life Graduate!