Education Starts from Tying Shoelaces I
How kids are lagging behind on life skills
Translated from: 教育小小孩，從綁鞋帶起 （上）
Dear dads and moms, what have you planned for your kids’ summer life? Family vacation? Cram school, daycare center, talent class, or…who cares as long as they are out for classes?
Oh, I see, you’d rather stay at home? And thus, you tell your kids,
"Be good now. Go play that video game I bought you earlier."
What about making some changes today?
You can still stay at home, but this time, teach your kids how to tie shoelaces!
Let me tell you what’s so mysterious about it.
But, wait a minute!
Before we discuss about the benefits of learning to tie shoelaces, why not take a look at what kids are learning these days.
Tech-smart Growing, Street-smart Fading
AVG Anti-Virus, a US-based computer software company, conducted a research study in 2011 to investigate how children worldwide are involved in technology. 2,200 mothers from ten countries (i.e. US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan) were polled about what tech and life skills their 2-5 year olds are learning.
In result, they found that most of the toddlers have already acquired the knowledge of operating a mouse, turning on and off a computer, playing a basic video game, and even phubbing smartphones for their daddies and/or mommies. Surprisingly, these tech skills are even learned before other basic life skills are developed, such as making oneself breakfast or tying one’s own shoelaces.
Table 1 below is adapted from the study’s result so as to give you a better view of what the research was about and what kids are learning these days.
Perhaps you are thinking,
“Hm…this is just a random survey done by a private company about some foreign, far-away kids. I don’t think that result pertains to my child. Nuh-uh.”
Well then, let’s take a look at another report just released last year by OECD.
(Note: OECD consists of 36 member countries spanning across Africa, Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia. Taiwan takes part in its PISA exam every three years.)
According to the 2017 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA in short) result, 91% of teenagers aged 15 reported having access to smartphones, 71% said they have access to laptops, 60% considered computer easily obtainable, and tablets with Internet connection is available to 53% of the adolescents (OECD, 2017, p.8).
Thus, we can see from both reports that the advancement of technology has greatly changed the way 21st century children live and learn, meaning that somehow the knowledge of life skills is becoming less popular among the younger generations.
Yet, as parents who care a surmount about your child’s education, have you ever considered the positive impacts of learning life skills, such as shoelace-tying, for your child?
The Telegraph (2015) mentioned that the replacement of Velcro shoes for shoes with shoelaces will in effect hinder child’s mental development of grit. It is noted that shoes with shoelaces offer youngsters an opportunity to fail and learn from mistakes. Hence, an easier substitution of it would instead offset their motivation to stumble and rise as they face difficulties in future life (Ward, 2015).
Apart from cultivating a positive attitude toward disappointments in life, teaching kids to tie their own shoelaces also has its psychological benefits from a developmental point of view.
Hear me out for more next week!
Hey, why not start teaching your kids how to tie their own shoelaces, starting from today?
AVG (2011). AVG digital skills study. AVG. Retrieved from https://avg.typepad.com/files/avg-digital-skills-study-full-briefing.pdf
OECD (2018). New technologies and 21st century children: Recent trends and outcomes. OECD Education Working Paper, 179. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=EDU/WKP%282018%2915&docLanguage=En
Ward, V. (September 4, 2015). Parents who avoid teaching children how to tie shoelaces are ‘hindering their development’. The Telegraph. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/11843223/Parents-who-avoid-teaching-children-how-to-tie-shoelaces-are-hindering-their-development.html
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