Recently I had a discussion with a group of people (suffice to say we were all Gen X, not a Gen Y to be seen in this group) about the reliability of information on Wikipedia. They were all worried about people getting the “wrong” information, especially their children. Even after someone pointed out that a comparison with Encyclopedia Britannica had shown a fairly close correlation of information they continued to be hung up on their children getting the wrong ‘facts’.
I was a little taken back. Not only are they underestimating the power of knowledge accumulating from more than one person, they were exhibiting a truly narrow appreciation of the vast array of people and experiences that will define our children’s ‘facts’. They are underestimating the children themselves as individuals.
I felt a more powerful conversation would have been about the challenges of teaching our children the process of learning? About recognising that that it is not the job of one particular source to give our children the right answer? I know we all want to give our children the answer to everything, protect them from getting things wrong, but obsessing that our children know a bunch of facts is in the long run not particularly helpful to them – although it might help them get a good mark in our school system. Ensuring that those facts are always perfect is controlling, and does not teach them to learn, to discriminate between different information and to use their judgement and resources to either get to the right answer or, as is often necessary, to identify the shades of grey.
About Kylie de Boer
DR KYLIE DE BOER is the Group General Manager of Sydney IVF. A country girl at heart, Kylie cites her greatest achievement as becoming a mother. However a few detours along the way via University of Sydney and Harvard Business School has seen her combine this with a rewarding career in the field of IVF. Of special significance to Kylie has been the establishment of Sydney IVF regional program which allowed families in rural Australia accessibility to world leading IVF, and the leading the Sydney IVF pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis Program (PGD) which is now one of the most diverse and successful world-wide.