Building a class of freegivers

The Singaporean version of GCE A levels is particularly tough. And I have seen my students under tremendous stress. So it is not surprising that this exam has translated to ever increasing suicide rates in Singapore in the past decade leading to the highest statistics in 2016.

At the same time, I also noticed that the school system have produced very self-centered students.

Whilst there is nothing wrong with looking after the interests of oneself, I fear that this will produce a generation of youth that is ill-prepared to succeed in life, the freeloaders (in biology, parasitic behavior results in eventual death of the host, a lose-lose situation).

I do remember one such ex-colleague when I left the education field to expand my life experience in start-ups. When he negotiate sales, he takes on the win at all cost position. This results in pissed off clients who thought they did not owe us a living and worst still would close the doors to further discussion. Self-entitlement could not kill the start-up any faster.

At the opposite spectrum are the freegivers.

The opposite, is magical. These are the people who feed the community first, who give before taking, who figure out how to always give a little more than they take.

What happens to a community filled with freegivers?

Ironically, every member of that community comes out ahead (in biology, this is known as mutualism and results in a win-win situation).

It is a challenge to teach mutualism in a classroom and even more to see it in action. But I will persist in the endeavor because I don’t just want my students to achieve their desired grades. I want them to succeed in life. COMMENT.



  • On January 17, 2017