Individuals: Thomas Edison & Serious Reading

Young Thomas Edison boy child

In my last post, I focused on Thomas Edison as a businessman.  This time I will focus on Thomas Edison as a student:

In school, the young Edison’s mind often wandered, and his teacher, the Reverend Engle, was overheard calling him “addled“.  This ended Edison’s three months of official schooling.  Edison recalled later, “My mother was the making of me.  She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.”  His mother taught him at home.   Much of his education came from reading R.G. Parker’s School of Natural Philosophy.

So if Thomas Edison was distracted at school, referred to as “rotten” by his teacher, and dropped out, how could he have achieved so much, even with the help of his mother?

Because there are still many students who are distracted or are not interested in class.  And many of them are simply admonished.

Why would a student not be interested in class in the first place?  Would a student be interested in school if he or she was merely being taught to follow instructions?

Thomas Edison light bulb

Photo Credit: Alkivar

Of course we need to know how to follow instructions.  But can we achieve success by only knowing how to follow instructions?

In my previous post eRenaissance, I mentioned encouraging students to read whatever they want (fiction/informational text) so that their experience of learning is not one of mere following.  This should be official school policy.

I regret not starting to read Aristotle, Cicero, Rousseau, military history, etc. from high school, because there’s just so much I want to do and read.  But, at least I’ve started.


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