I think, therefore, I know I can do it
Our junior reporters attended the Arch Academy's Socrates demonstration class. Co-founder and instructor Jennifer Ma challenged them with moral-pushing, eye-opening brain-teasers. Check out what they learned ...
Planes in the sky
Sometimes, a question doesn't require a definite answer - it seeks to understand your train of thought. For example, Ma asked during the class: how many planes are there in the sky?
This question may be intimidating, as there are so many unknown factors connected to the answer.
One's ability can be judged on how they apply their thinking skills to tackle problems.
In other words, how many perspectives - politically, economically, scientifically - can you take into account?
For example, in 2001, the number of commercial flights could have dropped due to the events of September 11. But that doesn't mean the number would have fallen significantly, because there may have been more private jets in the sky to compensate.
So when you come across questions like this, don't panic. Think outside the box and search for the answer logically.
Yasmin Subba, Milo Leung
Should we help Somali orphans or polar bears?
Based on humanitarian grounds, one should choose to save Somali orphans over polar bears. The Somalis suffer from illness, malnutrition and natural disasters, and need help from local government and international agencies.
On the other hand, while polar bears are endangered, humans shouldn't necessarily interfere with their evolution, according to Darwin's principle of natural selection. However, humans should not exploit their habitat to a degree that polar bears no longer have a place to live.
By saving polar bears, we're actually solving a bigger problem - climate change.We help polar bears by stopping practices that are bad for the environment and destroy their habitat, and at the same time we can slow down climate change.
Some argue that humans should have basic rights. To turn a blind eye to Somali orphans is inhumane and unethical. It's true that we need to stamp out regional poverty. But let us not forget that poverty in Somalia is partly due to climate change - farmers' crops are affected by drought so they can't make a living.
Stopping climate change is the best solution.
Communication and thinking skills are gold
In today's competitive world, even straight-A students find it difficult to compete for top-notch universities and jobs. Universities and employers now look for all-rounders. Critical thinking and good communication skills have become increasingly important. But our pre-tertiary schooling tends to be knowledge-based, which makes entering university and the job market a big jump. Arch Academy aims to bridge this gap by preparing students for future challenges.
The academy conducts this class, which covers global issues including conflict and poverty, in six levels, catering to students aged 10 to 17. It trains students to think critically and analyse questions from multiple perspectives.
After graduating from Oxford University with a First Class Honours in Economics and Management, Ma worked as an investment banker for seven years. During that time, Ma met bright minds lacking the ability to apply their knowledge and skills to their jobs. So she quit banking to become an educator. She teamed up with her friend and colleague, Jennifer Yu, and established the Arch Academy.