AN UNTRADITIONAL EDUCATION
While many public school systems around the country re-opened their doors in August, the day after Labor Day remains the traditional date for the beginning of the school year. When thinking about today’s significance, it reawakened an “education story” that I first wrote about two years ago:
“Big Jay”, as he was known in the community, dropped out of school in the tenth grade. He decided that school had failed to serve his needs, and felt that getting out in the world and earning money would be more of a help to his mother and younger brothers and sisters. “Big Jay” had to weigh his career options, and turned to what he found to be the most expedient choice: drugs. Sure, selling drugs wasn’t necessarily the most respected occupation, but it was definitely more lucrative than anything else he’d find in the short-term.
The market was good, since many of the neighbors felt despair, had little formal education, and lacked a general faith that the world could provide the ingredients for success in life. “Big Jay’s” sales flourished and he was able to feed his family.
Unfortunately, one day his business suffered a blow when the local police decided to raid his house. Temporarily taken into custody, and with his responsibility to his family weighing on him, he decided that his options were suddenly more limited. He approached a local elementary school to speak to the director of a new family-support program offered at the school during evenings and weekends.
After six months spent attending this Center, “Big Jay” learned how to use a computer, was working towards his GED, and tutored and directed other people who came to the Center to learn. He has been gainfully employed for more than ten years — and has retired from the drug business.
It wasn’t that “Big Jay” changed. Rather, it was the conditions under which he could learn marketable skills that had changed.
Some are impaired by language barriers. Others are hampered by lack of high school degrees and/or the subsequent struggle to make financial ends meet. The dearth of opportunities can seem overwhelming to so many, and the frustration and lack of hope that result set powerful examples for their children – with the accompanying threat of a never-ending cycle.
The answer points directly to the incorporation of the new visual learning technologies as the glue, which can bond together the families, businesses and religious institutions of a community at large. It is recognition that today’s “learning culture” has expanded our traditional definition of literacy. We can now more fully comprehend that learning can be accomplished best when we tailor the means to the individual – and, for many individuals, that means is visual learning.
Full motion, optional audio training programs will not only upgrade the skills of your workforce, they can improve the communities in which you live. For so very many, meeting the needs of their learning culture depends on all of us providing the best in media education and training — which will ultimately level the playing field of opportunity for all Americans.
Education continues for everyone beyond the Tuesday-after-Labor Day and that is a good thing. As public schools expand their efforts in technology learning so, too, do businesses and associations throughout the world. My wish, and my prediction, is that “Big Jay’s” story will be repeated millions of time throughout the world.
More on Thursday – – – – –
“THE WORLD RELIES ON THE HANDS OF ITS MEN AND WOMEN”