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Conditioning a hurdle to boys’development

ALBERT Einstein, that cool dude with more than a few smarts, said: “the intuitive mind is a sacred gift; the rational mind is a faithful servant – we have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift”.

That is changing.

The post-industrial knowledge economy requires the use of all our thinking abilities and, increasingly, the lateral, emotional, creative, qualitative and intuitive ones – all those right brain processes.

If you are an Aussie male, you may feel somewhat apprehensive about this shift towards using our right brain in the hard-edged reality of a corporate world created by, and run on, predominantly left brain rational, linear, analytical and quantitative thinking.

The Western world’s educational philosophy since World War II focused on mastering the rational skills inherent in the sciences and mathematics.

Science was truth.

Suddenly, we need to use our intuitive mind. We must think in ways we have not been taught, coached or encouraged – unless we are among the tiny percentage of the population which pursues highly creative professions such as design, architecture or the arts.

We might ask how our current education system is responding to this trend for right brain thinking skills in our future workforce.

A recent conference of 700 teachers and school administrators in the Warren-Blackwood district of south-west WA discussed the need to develop different curricula and pedagogy to educate our primary school kids and provide a skills base encouraging intuition, lateral thinking and creativity – especially in their dealings with the unknown.

According to global futurists, 70 per cent of the jobs that will exist in 15 to 20 years have not been thought of yet, mostly because 80 per cent of the technology that will exist then has not been invented yet.

Technology will be the greatest driver of change for the next 30 to 50 years. No one knows what most of our school children will be doing in 15 years’ time – they must be prepared to deal with the unknown as a matter of course.

A comparison of how we stack up against English, American, and Canadian schools in our education of boys was the topic of a Churchill fellowship last year by Ian Lillico, principal of City Beach High School.

His research findings showed the disturbing trends against the nurturing and development of our boys’ creative, emotional and intuitive intelligences.

In all the nations studied, school is the primary institution to influence boys’ development.

The study found that even mothers seem to reinforce the suppression of their sons’ feelings from birth.

In both the US and Australia, by the age of seven, boys typically do not cry.

By 10-11 years they exclude soft feelings. By 14-16 years only two emotions are allowed – anger and laughter.

Historically in WA we required rugged individualism, as exemplified by bearing pain silently, continually proving oneself, always being in control, and avoiding all signs of weakness or need.

No wonder we forgot the gift of intuitive thinking – men have not been allowed to use it.

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