Why Apprenticeship?

In 6th century B.C., during the Spring and Autumn period, China was torn apart by feudal lords and royalty from the declining Zhou dynasty.

Amidst the endless wars and conflicts, hundreds of schools of philosophies emerged as the people struggled to find a path to return to peace. One philosopher was especially fond of education, and he identified two guiding principles for the school he established, yin cai shi jiao and you jiao wu lei. The former means to teach your student according to their aptitude, and the latter, to provide education for all without discrimination.

Fast-forward to modern time. Today we have compulsory education for our children. However, our school teachers do not necessarily have enough time to dedicate to each one of their pupils, and not all have the financial support to attend schools for higher education and be prepared for a specialized profession like software development. I believe the apprenticeship model can solve some of these problems.

Apprenticeship encourages a one-on-one relationship, where both the apprentice and his master agree to commit to a relationship of teaching and learning. It recognizes individuality and lets the mentor adjust his material according to the capacity and personality of his mentee. The mentor also has more motivation for bringing up the mentee the right way as he will become an active member on the team, and contribute to the growth of the company.

From the perspective of the apprentice, he has an opportunity to learn from a successful professional who is actively working in the field, and practicing their craft on a daily basis. In addition to knowledge and techniques, the apprentice also learns the job ethics and etiquette from firsthand experience.

The Chinese philosopher became one of the first to offer public lectures that were previously controlled by the government and exclusive to nobles. Among his disciples were rulers, commoners, the rich, and the poor. His name was Confucius, and his teaching cemented the foundation of one of the most thriving civilizations in history. By following the apprenticeship model, we are answering questions for anyone who is humble enough to ask; we are raising the bar for anyone who is determined enough to rise up; we are making our core practices available to the masses, and in turn, we have people who understand our job and whom we would like to work with in the future.

Talk to us if you want to learn more!

http://www.8thlight.com/apprenticeship

Li-Hsuan Lung enjoys reading, writing, and translating between Chinese and English and is part of the ongoing effort to bring the Agile Manifesto to a Chinese audience.