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Is there a need for everyone to learn as many skills as possible?

Nguyen Than Thuy Linh

· intrinsic motivation,generosity,hapiness

It is a fact that most of Asean students have concrete knowledge of Maths and some Science subjects. On the other hand, Western students hardly do well on even simple calculations but have excellent skills of debating and critical thinking at various aspects of life. Does it sound weird?

The contexts of each region tend to force us to follow a certain form of learning and pursuing certain career paths. But due to this enforcement, many learners could stand out as such ingenious change-makers.

Conformity to regulation and standardized condition is the most ridiculous rule in life.

Everyone is created uniquely and has their own intelligence. There is no point applying one-size-fit-all approach for every individual and expecting naturally-born-with-curiosity children to achieve some stupid level of academic performances.

Is there a need for everyone to learn as many skills as possible?


In the book “Creative School” of Ken Robinson, education is a living process that can be compared to agriculture. The mission of farmers is to create best conditions for trees to grow to their full potential and farmers do not make trees grow by themselves as they know they CAN’T. Yet if they try to make trees to grow into the version that they want, the consequence is either impossible or unethical for human beings.


Plants grow themselves. Learners grow themselves. Good gardeners create good conditions, good teachers do not always control these condition or set strict “equal” instructions for learners.


Hai Yen took an example of vegetable sellers. Why they can do calculations so fast? It’s because it’s their role to earn profit and do business that requires their fast thinking and maths practice. Why artists need weird contexts and inspiration to draw paintings? It’s their role to give birth to creative products. Why game-creators need to play games for hours with patience and compassion? It’s their role to understand the experience and mindset of game-players so that I could invent the “like-minded” products. While Western students are so good at having strong opinions and grounded arguments about politics or philosophy? As they are born in the middle of numerous debates in which each need to be aware of what’s going on rather than textbooks, plus the process of establishing education system & historical movements are different from ours.


Skills should be deepened and accumulated only when there is a real need for a person to achieve their personal goal. One of the 5 philosophies of learning of SoG is “Learning through future creative and active inquiry”. Personal mastery can be built through the development of personal interest and conscious intention to embrace the skills or values as a way of being. This personal interest acts as an intrinsic motivation that includes purpose, autonomy & growth help ones conquer their objectives. Eventually, their own goal reflects the values and beliefs in living a good life.


The current way of motivating people are based on “Carrot and stick” methods in which awards and punishments are artificially made, not made of natural aspiration. It’s my first time to realize how this method has covered most of our normal life, in all kinds of jobs. Only until recently, it has raise the concern about mindfulness, well-being, intrinsic motivation for the real need of being truly satisfied instead of fake-satisfied.


Personally, conformity to "stardardized system" & expectation & enforcement make no sense of education. Again, think profoundly about intrinsic education, the vehicles to navigate ourselves to make whatever dream come true.


Huge thanks to the training, generosity, warm heart, and unique beauty of Hai Yen.


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