You know how parents ask their children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
At a young age, kids have all sorts of idealistic answers with public service jobs, like becoming a firefighter, or a teacher, or a police officer. They don’t exactly say, “I’m planning to be a money-hungry CEO of a company that outsources to countries known for practicing child labor.”
In one of my discussions with people, they pointed out that the question we phrase is not quite accurate. Instead of saying, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” we should be asking, “What do you want to do when you grow up?”
When you ask, “What do you want to be?” the answer that children give is normally associated with stuff such as the uniform or the cool car with the sirens or society’s perception of the particular job. But asking the latter question makes them consider the actual actions that the job entails; something that they might not have hands-0n experience until it’s too late to change their mind.
The good schools conduct Career Days, and have Career Counseling offices at the high school level to help students choose a profession. But it’s different when children get to experience the job before they can really make a decision. Also, having the child actually play the professional role, and act like an adult might actually motivate them to work hard in school, because they finally understand why they are going to school, and can actually visualize what their goal for getting an education would be.
And that’s where places like Kidzania come into play. Kidzania was opened in Dubai Mall, and it’s a self-sustained ‘city’, where children get to experience several roles such as construction worker, or surgeon, or a chef. Of course these are all make-believe. In the sense that they don’t start a real fire for the children to put out, and they don’t put a real person under a child’s scalpel. Instead, they work with dummies. There are adults in Kidzania who help train the child, and then watch them work. At the end, they are paid a salary using Kidzos (the currency in this city).
So instead of having children dream of a certain profession because of the cool uniform, they get to play the role, and immerse themselves into the actions they’d be doing in that profession to see whether it would be suitable or not.
And before we know it, the child with aspirations to become a vet might turn into a butcher.
For more information on Kidzania Dubai Mall;