In his book, “Start With Why”, Simon Sinek tells a story about an American auto executive touring a car manufacturing plant in Japan. At one section of the line, where they put on the doors, the executive noticed that the workers were not using a rubber mallet to fit the doors. The American process called for the doors to be banged with the rubber mallet to ensure they fit snuggly. The executive explained their process and asked when the Japanese process ensured the doors fit properly? With a puzzled expression, the Japanese guide said, “When the car is designed.”


Traditional education works in much the same way as the American auto manufacturing process. The prevailing thinking is make the students fit into the system rather than designing the system to successfully fit the student. At each crucial stage in the education process, we are expected to bring out the mallet and “fit” the student into their next stage of education.


We should all have a goal of developing confident, creative, critically thinking adults with a solution-based (rather than problem-fearing)  mindset. In fact, that is what we are told universities and companies are looking for and what the world desperately needs. However, our current system, with its emphasis on testing, teaching based on the “average” child, and learning by rote rather than experimentation – with its subsequent embracing of failure as a learning tool – does the exact opposite. BAM BAM goes the mallet.


You got good marks in elementary school so you need to take the university track – or even worse, you got bad marks so you’ll never be able to handle the university track.




You got good marks in secondary school the only choice is university. And you show aptitude in this area so you should go into this profession. You have an aptitude so you must have an interest, right?




You are going to be doing essays and studying a lot in university so you must take this extra essay writing and study skills course now in first year university.




And so you can begin your life following the pattern so well established by all of us before, here is a huge debt and a couple credit cards that you have no idea how to manage properly.




Now that you are working, just be grateful you have a job and just “be happy” with your money and your new toys.




We must stop this mentality of fixing the problem after the fact. We must be proactive and design a success strategy into the system from the earliest stages.


At Riverbend Academy, students are taught how to develop their passions and purpose, while we stay aware of their interests and help guide them toward finding a career that will be fulfilling. They must have the passion to become life-long learners to keep up with the ever-changing global economy. We strive to ensure our students have exposure to a wide variety of interests and subjects including the arts along with science, history, geography, psychology, and sociology to help them expand as well as refine their passions. We teach them the skills they will need for LIFE, not just university. These include studying, good communication, self-discipline, finance and money management, and emotion intelligence.


We consciously designed a system consistent from JK to Grade 12 that creates the leaders our world needs. Our students reach the end of the education without needing all the whacks with a mallet in order to “fit” into their future lives.


Instead, they design their lives with passion and purpose for success and happiness.