Education – with a twist of passion

by Edward Henkler on April 7, 2015

I’m sure most of you have heard the expression, “teaching to the test”. It’s the suggestion that schools teach their students to succeed on the standardized tests which are used to judge academic performance. The result can be a student who qualifies for the best schools but may be poorly prepared for the schoolwork at that elite school.

It is also my belief that education often ignores a student’s passion but rather tends to teach by rote. This process purports to identify the “smartest” students. I’m willing to concede that the process identifies smart students who will fare well in many settings but it completely overlooks many other talented individuals who may not learn well in a traditional classroom.

My wife often admits on her blog that she can’t add 2+2 <but she can help you decorate your home in a style that you will love>. In 30+ years of marriage, I have watched even simple math elude her unless a calculator was handy. With the advent of computers, programming fell into that same category of inaccessible knowledge for her. Until recently…..

Six years ago, as I began my own transition, she also left her job and began to pursue her dream. She had always wanted to be a magazine editor and blogging created that opportunity. She has worked virtually non-stop for the last six years to build an innovative and very popular blog with over a million page views in a recent month. She may not be an elite programmer but she created her own blog, built the framework of mine, and handles all of the back end technical administration for both of our blogs. She has become my go-to techie, which would have been unimaginable even 5 years ago. The story gets better…

The top bloggers must also have excellent digital photography skills to ensure that their content is acceptable to Pinterest and magazine editors. Once again, she has taken classes and studied independently until she has expert knowledge. I overheard her helping our younger daughter get started and she was discussing the very technical aspect of lenses and photographic techniques, reminding me of my high school and college physics classes.

Diane

So the person who can’t add 2+2 is now conversant with html, optics and a few other technical subjects. Do you think she might have been more successful in high school if someone had taught to her passion rather than trying to fit her into a standard box? How many others might succeed brilliantly with more creative approaches to academics? Personalized medicine is becoming a reality; perhaps it’s time for personalized education…

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda Weeks April 22, 2015 at 4:53 pm

How wonderful! I see how your collaboration with Ms. Diane has really created an exciting product! (She is wonderful, too) What a great partnership! My best regards, Mr. H!

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Edward Henkler April 22, 2015 at 5:28 pm

Thanks, Linda – it’s been an interesting time for us but I think we’ve grown tremendously at a time when many are contemplating retirement – very enervating!

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Jerzy April 22, 2015 at 6:24 pm

“. . . personalized education.”

You nailed it, Mr. Henkler! It’s called homeschooling! :-)

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Edward Henkler April 22, 2015 at 6:40 pm

Thanks!

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