New Teen Accelerator aims to teach Canberra kids to think

A good school education matters, but is it enough? Schools can only cover so many things in the curriculum, but research shows that many of the secrets for living and working successfully in the 21st Century are qualities rather than skills – persistence when things get tough; the confidence to put forward ideas and try new things; the willingness to put aside preconceived ideas and think outside the box; resilience to try again when you fail; and the tolerance to look at things from different perspectives before deciding which option to follow.

The Teen Accelerator is an initiative of Anna Pino and Candice Edye from Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre. They have combined their psychology backgrounds with their passion and experience supporting Canberra’s entrepreneurs to develop a 6-week after school program open to teens from Year 6 to 12.

They believe that while on the surface we can see kids excelling in a range of things; if you look closely they’re learning by rote and repeating other people’s opinions and ideas rather than come up with their own.

“Instead of being taught how to think they’re being taught to play it safe and get good grades,” says Ms Pino.

“This might have worked in the past, but it is far less likely to lead to success in the changing world of work and of growing competition.

“Just because your child is an avid reader, asks a lot of questions, gets great grades or seems to be a walking encyclopaedia of facts; does not necessarily mean they have good thinking skills”.

The Teen Accelerator draws on the disciplines of science, psychology, management and the experience of entrepreneurs to help students develop good thinking habits in a fun and challenging environment.

The Teen Accelerator runs from 5:30pm to 7pm on Tuesdays from the 25th October to the 29th November. It’s delivered in a small group format where the group works to solve a specific problem. The first in-take of the Teen Accelerator will be working on the problem the “Cost of Congestion”, trying to come up with a solution our politicians may have overlooked.


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