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Sir Ken Robinson
Many great thinkers have concisely concluded that modern education is not great. They realize that some aspects of human life are deemed less important than others in schools, public and private alike. They think that a subjective view of value is not subjective, but rather unchangeable. What this means is that some great men that have used science and math for the advancement of humanity have concluded that these are the best ways to express what we need to say and solve the problems we want to solve.

I think this view of life is completely wrong. Humans and animals are beings that might look the same from the outside but we can all agree that we are all born differently; we are not the same when it comes to values and preferences. What we share is a desire to become better and to end our suffering, whatever that suffering may be.

Are all humans benefiting equally from the current system of education? The short answer is no. The long answer is that this current system has created an elitist filter that deems people unfit based on a limited set of abilities. I do not mean to say that we should not learn languages, but that sometimes we move into topics that are very specific and have no real value when it comes to the individual. Someone who feels great pleasure in helping animals will not feel good if he attends a class of taxidermy even if the teacher thinks that the skills are great for his own life. We need to abandon this childish feeling that we are all created equal. We need to create a system that nurtures communication, creativity and difference. We need to expose the new generations with general culture and let them decide what they deem most important.

The solution? Create schools that foster interests and promote forward thinking. How is that even possible? Elementary school provides the foundations for our education. We need to build that part of life into one that teaches us the basics. Basic science that helps us understand the world, languages (probably two) that help us communicate effectively and basic math to help us make daily calculations that make our life easier. Then make a school that separates children into their natural talents. Don’t force the separation; make it something intuitive and catered to the each child. This will increase the amount of people that feel satisfied with their lives and put talents where they are most needed.

This will not be a short process. We need to start valuing teachers for what they really are. We need to hold them as the creators of society and we need to bring the best of our kind to the forefront of education.

Schools are littered with people that became teachers after being frustrated with their life; they are not internally driven to help children. A lot of things need to change, and we need this change to come soon.  


 
 
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By Tang Yauhoong
Globalization has been a mixed blessing. We can now communicate faster, yet sometimes speed and efficiency are not the same thing.

I write this after reading the wonderful article My Two Minds, which I have included at the bottom of this post and was originally published in the May 5 - 11 edition of New Scientist.

Throughout this article (that doubles as a compendium of years of research on languages) I found myself daunted by the incredible amount of evidence that champions the idea that being bilingual or multilingual has many outreaching benefits. 

Studies of bilinguals have proved that we are more effective at reading, driving and even mathematics. It might seem like an obvious thing, but apart from being that, it has been scientifically proven and practically validated. There seem to be countless benefits of studying two languages, there also seems to be countless repercussions if you don't. On average, monolinguals tend to develop Alzheimer and dementia 5 years earlier than bilinguals. Studying a second language is almost like having a 7% life expectancy boost if you live in the USA. 

The article suggests that knowing multiple languages is almost like having two personalities which are linked to the experiences that occurred while you were learning and interacting with a certain language. This was like preaching to the choir for me, I suspected languages had some effect like that but had never looked or read anything that even suggested such idea. As weird as this sounds, I am making an effort of thinking and speaking in english, I find myself to be more productive and more outgoing this way. I mainly spoke english with friends during international trips: New Zealand, USA and Europe, which probably explains why i'm much more outgoing in english, I have had more and better experiences while speaking that language.

My Two Minds
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Muchas veces lo que mas importa no es que es lo que decimos, sino como y cuando decimos las cosas. Es increíble que el mensaje verbal que transmitimos solo es el 7% de lo que se percibe, lo más importante es el tono y la apariencia física de la persona. No me gusta que así sean las cosas, pero así son, y hay que hacer lo mejor de ello. Por eso creo que es importante conocer muy bien a la persona con la que estamos hablando; ¿es optimista? ¿cómo es su apariencia física? ¿Que transmite su postura sobre su estado emocional? Estar muy al tanto de esto nos da una ventaja competitiva sobre muchas personas al poder transmitir nuestro mensaje eficientemente y garantizar que este fue entendido como nosotros queremos que sea entendido. Nosotros sí somos responsables por difundir nuestros mensajes correctamente, y hay que hacer lo mejor para lograr hacer esto correctamente. 

¿A qué me refiero con esto?

Quiero sugerir que una preocupación mas detallada por nuestra apariencia personal y nuestro tono de voz es una manera rápida de mejorar nuestra difusión de mensajes. 

Un ejemplo interesante: el mundo actual mercadea los productos como cosas capaces de cambiar nuestras vidas; los perfumes vienen acompañados de imágenes de mujeres y hombres bellos pasándola bien en una fiesta de la alta sociedad, por ejemplo. Estos productos no le llegan a los talones al efecto que tiene sobre las personas cambiar nuestra apariencia personal y nuestro tono de voz. Puedo inferir que transmitir limpieza y orden también dice mucho de nuestros argumentos.

Concisamente: una manera muy fácil de empezar a comunicarnos efectivamente con el mundo es buscar transmitir mensajes sutilmente a través de nuestra apariencia, nuestro tono de voz y nuestro lenguaje corporal.