Accelerated Learning for the 21st Century: The Six-Step Plan to Unlock Your Master-Mindby Colin Rose
Accelerated Learning into the 21st
We live in an era when the unprecedented speed of change means: The only certainty is uncertainty; you can't predict what skills will be useful in ten years time; in most professions knowledge is doubling every two or three years; and no job is forever--so being employable means being flexible and retraining regularly.
Accelerated Learning into the 21st Century contains a simple but proven plan that delivers the one key skill that every working person, every parent and student must master, and every teacher should teach: it's learning how to learn. The theory of eight multiple intelligences (linguistic, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial, kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist) developed by Howard Gardner at Harvard University provides a foundation for the six-step MASTER-Mind system to facilitate learning (an acronym for Mind, Acquire, Search, Trigger, Exhibit, and Review), and is enhanced by the latest findings on the value of emotion and memory on the process of learning.
Combined with motivational stories of success applying these principles, and putting forth a clear vision of how the United States can dramatically improve the education system to remain competitive in the next century, Accelerated Learning into the 21st Century is a dynamic tool for self-improvement by individuals as diverse as schoolchildren and corporate executives.
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Read an Excerpt
"The empires of the future will be the empires of the mind."
--Sir Winston Churchill
* The world is changing at an ever-accelerating pace.
* Life, society, economics, are becoming ever more complex.
* The nature of work is radically altering.
* Jobs are disappearing at an unprecedented rate.
* It is an age of uncertainty.
* The past is less and less a guide to the future.
These are the defining characteristics of the final turbulent years of this millennium. These are the challenges that need to be met by parents, educators, businesses, and governments.
Success in the 21st century will primarily depend upon the extent to which we and our children develop the appropriate skills to master each of the interconnected forces of speed, complexity, and uncertainty. It is in our hands.
The speed at which the world is changing demands a matching ability to learn faster. The increasing complexity of the world demands a matching ability to analyze situations logically and solve problems creatively.
Accelerated Learning for the 21st Century gives you the essential core skills of learning fast and thinking creatively. In that sense it is a personal how-to book.
But it is more than that. This book also lays out some key recommendations: how we can, and how we must, significantly improve the way we educate. As a society we urgently need a huge increase in the numbers of people who can be described as highly educated. We are doing a pretty good job of educating a minority. We must extend that trait to the majority.
Whether you haveschool-age children or not, this subject is of immediate and vital importance to you. It affects you as a taxpayer, as a citizen, and as a member of the workforce.
The worthwhile jobs of the future will either be jobs of the mind or jobs requiring a finely tuned talent--in the worlds of music, art, or sport, for instance. Repetitive, mechanical jobs are either being taken over by computer-controlled machines or exported to overpopulated countries where people are prepared to work for lower wages and where their governments offer incentives to business. There simply won't be any work for inadequately educated people.
Even if you do have a "mind job," it is still your concern. Unless the whole educational standard of our nation is vastly raised, you will suffer higher taxes, lower national economic output, and the costs of social disruption.
Low educational attainment and poor analytical and decision-making skills lead to economic dependency. You will encounter higher taxes in the future because a nation comprised mostly of people who can't function in a high-tech world will mean higher unemployment benefits, higher welfare costs, and higher crime-control costs. And even higher health-care costs--because there is a clear correlation between educational status and health. Studies show that people with higher education are generally healthier and live longer.
Looked at positively, the wealth of our nation is the sum of the brains of its people. Its creativity and skills. In other words, our best asset is our collective ability to learn fast and adapt thoughtfully to situations we can't predict.
At the moment, though, the focus of schools is on deciding what children should learn and what they should think.
We will argue that in a time of such rapid change, the first priority is to teach our children how to learn and how to think.
Only with these two "super skills" can you cope with change and complexity and become economically independent--and employable in the 21st century. Only then have you the core skills for personal happiness, stable relationships, and growth. Your ability to earn is directly proportional to your ability to learn.
So, to the extent that you want to live in a flourishing, safe, optimistic, and creative society, you need to be very concerned indeed with what goes on in our schools. Whether you are a parent of a school-age child or not. It is everyone's concern.
A LIFELONG ADVENTURE
Learning is not just knowing the answers. It's not just acquiring bits and pieces of general knowledge. It can't simply be measured by grades and exam results. It's not just taking on board what other people know.
Learning is a lifelong adventure. It's a never-ending voyage of exploration to create your own personal understanding. And it crucially must involve the ability to continuously analyze and improve upon the way in which you learn. the ability to be conscious of the process of your own learning and thinking. Learning must begin much earlier than the child's first day at school and it must continue well into retirement. We must never stop learning--and implementing what we learn.
What are the implications? We need to make changes--urgently. We need to help all parents create a rich, stimulating, thought-provoking home environment in the preschool years. Studies show that 50 percent of one's potential brain capacity is developed in the first five or six years of life. Doesn't it make sense, therefore, that a concerted effort should be made to turn those early years into a fun--yet powerful--learning and growth experience?
In the primary school years, we need smaller class sizes and the active collaboration of parents with the school to provide their children with interesting, challenging, and relevant projects that stimulate curiosity and thought.
In the early secondary school years, we need to ensure that students become capable of learning on their own so they can fully utilize the dazzling opportunities of the new interactive learning aids. Yet, they should also be working collaboratively to tackle problems, such as community issues, that engage their interest because they are relevant to their lives. This way students develop their basic skills and simultaneously learn critical creative thinking skills. In other words, we need changes both in what is learned and in how it is learned.
And what about the adult--even the well-educated, "fully-trained" adult with a wealth of qualifications? His or her skills may be perfectly adequate for 1997--and become woefully inadequate as soon as the year 2000.
Knowledge is doubling every two to three years in almost every occupation--and this means your knowledge must double every two or three years just for you to stay even. People who are not aggressively and continuously upgrading their knowledge and skills are not staying in the same place. They are falling behind.
You need to ask yourself, where are you going to be? Imagine if your industry disappeared. What would be your next career move? What skills do you have? What do you need to be excellent at? Are you prepared to deal with accelerating change?
"Change, after all, is only another word for growth, another synonym for learning. We can all do it, and enjoy it, if we want to," says British futurist Professor Charles Handy, former chairman of the Royal society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce (RSA).
Handy tells an excellent personal story to illustrate the pace of change. In the late 1950s he went to work for a world-famous multinational corporation. They projected his career path for him--leading all the way to the chief-executive slot at a company in a country at the other end of the world.
When Handy left the conglomerate some years later, not only did the job they had originally envisioned for him no longer exist, neither did the company he would have run--nor even the country. Change, indeed.
But change needs to be valued. Unless your job involves continuous learning (to handle change), taking initiative, using judgment, making good, rational decision, and inventing creative solutions to problems, it is either going to be badly paid, taken over by technology, or "exported" to another country.
These used to be skills only a few "top managers" needed. Now we all need them to survive. Everyone needs to focus quality thought on what he needs to know to perform well at his job, for tomorrow as well as today.
"It used to be that the main difference between people in our society was between those who 'have more' versus those who 'have less.' Today, however, the difference is between those who 'know more' and those who 'know less,'" says Brian Tracy, author of Maximum Achievement and one of America's top professional speakers and seminar leaders.
John Sculley, the ex-chairman of Apple Computers, also lays it on the line extremely well: "In the new economy strategic resources no longer come out of the ground. The strategic resources are ideas and information that come out of our minds.
"The result: We have gone from being resource rich in the old economy to resource poor in the new economy almost overnight. Our public education has not successfully made the shift from teaching the memorization of facts to achieving the learning of critical thinking skills."
Time magazine, in a major story headlined "Jobs in an Age of Insecurity," commented, "On no opinion are the experts so unanimous as that the future belongs to the knowledge worker, master of his PC, fiber-optics whatsit, E-mail gizmo, and whatever takes its place...a high-tech worker must be ready to go back to school and learn new skills, on his or her own, if any employer will not finance it, at a minimum of every five to ten years.
One of those experts, computer genius Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, in his book, The Road Ahead, says, "In a changing world, education is the best preparation for being able to adapt. As the economy shifts, people and societies who are appropriately educated will tend to do the best. The premium that society pays for skills is going to climb, so my advice is to get a good formal education and then keep on learning. Acquire new interests and skills throughout your life."
And futurist Daniel Burns, author of TechnoTrends--24 Technologies That Will Revolutionize Our Lives, emphasizes, "The future belongs to those who are capable of being retrained again and again. Think of it as periodically upgrading your human assets throughout your career. Let's face it, the corporate jewels are its information and its people, not its buildings and hardware. Humans are infinitely upgradable, but it does require an investment."
That investment, we believe, should be in attaining the vision of lifelong learning through a partnership that involves students, parents, teachers, business executives, and government leaders. A partnership which recognizes that education is a mutual, shared responsibility. A cooperative undertaking to harvest the rich resources of the human mind.
Meet the Author
Colin Rose is founder and chairman of Accelerated Learning Systems, and consults with many universities and corporations such as Motorola, Xerox, and IBM. He lectures frequently at conferences and symposiums across the globe. In the United Kingdom he is working at a government level to set up a national network of centers for parent education and is a member of the steering committee of the Learning Society, a collaborative undertaking of the British government, the Royal Society for the Arts, and industry. He lives in England.
Malcolm J. Nicholl is president of Accelerated Learning Systems, Inc., of Carlsbad, California. A longtime business partner of Colin Rose, he is also a former international journalist whose career included a two-year stint as Belfast bureau chief for The London Daily Mirror. He is author of several books in the business and health fields, and is a frequent guest on television and radio shows. He lives in Rancho Santa Fe, California.
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