How to innovate our educational system

I recently watched an inspiring video on Ted.com suggesting ways to improve our educational system.  Sir Ken Robinson recommends schools that help students find what their natural strengths are to cultivate their creativity.  As a career coach, my focus is on helping individuals identify what their innate abilities are, and how to apply them in a meaningful way.  In “Bring on the Learning Revolution,” he talks about how important it is for students to know their innate strengths.

I also find the students I work with rarely know what their highest strengths are, and they are very appreciative when I help them recognize these abilities.  This gives them clarity, direction and confidence in making decisions about appropriate courses to study, college majors, and career choices.  This great video has over 2.5 million hits and is only 18 minutes long.

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution.html 

 

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Your referrals are my best testimonials!

Here is a letter from a parent whose sons took the Rockport, Highlands and Myers-Briggs tests, and she was so thrilled with the results, she is recommending me to another friend.  I’m not sure how long it took her to write this 2 page letter, but it is the best testimonial a career coach could imagine.

“Rick is passionate about what he does and I know both our boys AND my husband and I benefited from the tests our boys took.  I think anything we can learn to help our kids, and for us to understand them a little better is a good thing!

My 21 year old took the Rockport Institute which includes the Myers-Briggs  test.  Both those tests were mailed to us, so he did not take them on a computer.   He self-timed his tests, and then mailed his paperwork to Rockport Institute.  Rick received the results and scheduled an appointment where we were all on the phone together and he goes over the results on the phone.  He lives in Idaho and puts the conversation on a CD and mails it to you so you can listen to it later.  It’s a lot of information to go over!   We thought this test would be helpful as he really wanted to go to Cal Poly, where you have to declare your major when you apply.

My husband is a Civil Engineer, and when our son was leaning toward that same direction I wanted to make sure it was really suited to him and he was not just following in his Dad’s footsteps.  The test actually did reveal that our 21 year old’s natural aptitudes would line up well with that line of work, but Rick shared a lot of other interesting information as well.  Some we knew and some we didn’t, i.e. one of the things Rick really encouraged him to do was to make sure he was involved in something where he could use his hands. He loves to build things and almost went into Construction Management.

Rick warned that over the years, when our son may be offered  ” a promotion,” to be sure he wasn’t getting too far away from what he really enjoyed doing. As in he probably wouldn’t love a desk job where he couldn’t actually be using his hands to work/build something.  When he hit the button applying for Civil Engineering major, we were confident that field would line up with his natural aptitudes and as it has turned out so far, he has ended up very happy with that major.

We also have a 18 year old son, who is a senior in High School and of course, very different from his older brother.  My husband who had been a little leery of this test with our elder son, was the one who suggested we have the younger one tested when he was 17.  He took an on-line test called The Highland Ability test and the Myers-Briggs personality test. We found again the test to be very helpful in identifying his strengths and weaknesses. Rick also went over ways to try to help our son with some of his weaknesses. It’s not that the test shows good and bad, or that there is any sense of grading etc., it shows you what your natural abilities are by identifying which areas are easy for you and come naturally to you.  Rick shared with me that if you find a line of work that meets many of your natural aptitudes during the day, at the end of the day you’re going to be a lot happier.  Rick works with students who have graduated from college and do not have any interest in working in the field they just spent 4 years studying.

Not to say there’s any guarantee, but I know this information helped our older son pick a major and I think knowing what we learned from the test results about our boys has actually helped us to be better parents.

Our younger son is very creative, enjoys art, photography, and history. As his test results showed, people like him would not be happy engineers!   If your son takes the test, you’ll receive lists of possible careers, some showing careers people similar to you are very happy in and it also shows careers that people like you are generally not happy in.   The test helped him see his individual strengths and we also tried to help him stop comparing himself to his older brother’s strengths, which were different.

Rick has so many pearls of wisdom to share…he told me that the school system wants our kids to be good at ALL subjects and one of the things I appreciate about Rick is he helped both our boys see there individual strengths/weaknesses, personality profiles and natural aptitudes.

Another piece of advice he kept saying to the boys, “Date it before you marry it”!  He encouraged them to job shadow and put their feet on the campuses they were interested in and stay the night at those campuses if possible…. as Rick said “you can’t test for all the things we feel and experience when we’re in the actual setting.”

As you can see we’ve worked with Rick mainly to help our boys select a major for college, and identify their strengths, but the tests have helped us in so many other ways, too.  I think Rick could help you identify which test (he’s certified in a few) might be most helpful to your son.  Rick has spent hours on the phone with me even though our elder son took the test years ago, he still is very willing to give me insight about a summer job and help with any questions I have.

Rick loves helping people figure out what it is they’d be happiest doing and I really appreciate his individual approach to his clients and how encouraging he is even when dealing with the areas that our boys were weaker in.

I would also suggest giving Rick a call and ask him any questions you may have…I know he wouldn’t mind a bit.”

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