Parents Take Notice !

When the Bill Gates Foundation invests in a start-up education company, all parents should take notice.  And I’ve just discovered a site on YouTube, called Khan Academy,

that I think is a breakthrough advance in learning, and what’s even better, my 11-year old daughter thinks it’s Cool!  Obviously Bill Gates does too!

The concept is quite simple (another one of those wish I had thought of that ideas).  Children don’t always understand the lesson during the 50-minute classroom time and there is very little time for individual attention in classrooms where 30 children are the norm.  And then they are asked to do homework on the lesson and the only feedback they get is a grade,  then the teacher moves on to the next lesson.  Unless the foundation lessons are solidly learned, future steps will be weak.

What if your child doesn’t fully understand the concept the first time?  What if they are just grasping the ideas but need more practice and more instruction to absorb the principles? Sadly there is no more time in the classroom, and parents who lead busy lives can only refer to the chapter in the child’s book for coaching, if they take the time at all.

The global statistics for OECD countries are revealing.  The US and the UK rank 20th and 28th respectively in overall combined reading, maths and science scores.

Mastery comes not from a one evening’s homework assignment, but from repeated practice until there is understanding and demonstrated mastery.  And that’s where the Khan Academy comes in.

In order to help his cousins with their algebra homework, Salman Khan, an investment banker, would create little “homework lessons and practice sessions” on his computer and post them on YouTube.  His cousins were hooked and wanted more, as did their friends.  The Khan Academy was born.  It now has over 2100 video lessons and 100 self-paced exercises in all major school subjects, posted on its website. If you want to hear the story from Sal himself, watch his talk on TED.

It’s not about upping your country’s global ranking, it’s about helping your child gain the understanding, mastery and educational foundation they can build a positive future on.  We do Khan Academy every night at our house, how about you?

Tight Lines . . .

About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at or
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1 Response to Parents Take Notice !

  1. Bill Collins says:

    John, I just watched ‘Waiting for Superman’ 2 nights ago and it must be kismet that your blog was based on education that is easily disseminated and FREE!
    You should watch Waiting for Superman with your daughter and her friends and let them see what people all over this country are doing to try to get a good education for their kids. It will bring a tear to your eyes.


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