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DAD'S TWO CENTS.

Success comes in the form of freedom to make decisions and make mistakes. Â The money generated from those successes re-energizes passion.

By Rob Barker Teacher, Entrepreneur & Gabriel's Dad!

Photo by Jonathan Brinkhorst

I'm a teacher. Before I became a teacher I was a salesman, building strategic relationships, selling benefits and meeting customer's need. I'm still selling but the average age of my customer has dramatically decreased, as has their budget. I am an entrepreneur. I retrained myself and paid for my teaching degree with my skills. Gabriel, co-founder of 3DMEnow.ca, has had the benefit of having a parent with this experience. Gabriel was basking in the media attention brought by the articles in the Halifax Chronicle Herald, Hants Journal and other Novanewsnow.ca publications we were contacted by a fellow by the name of Nick Budden who has benefited from venture capital that has launched his career. It took him several long years of struggle to achieve the career he has now because, he feels, that the Nova Scotia Education system did not prepare him for the world of entrepreneurship or venture capital. He had to find his own way. As an educator and parent with an inside look at the education system, I don't heartily agree but I don't disagree either. As a high school teacher, I see very few opportunities for students to learn the entrepreneurial skills they need to survive in the new economy. The last 2 weeks of school, students in Grade 10 are given a "financial project" to seek out information on

how much it will cost to finance their post-secondary studies. Not all students are destine for post-secondary, but no one can deny the need for additional workforce training. I see lessons taught in a Production course where students create a wooden product, create a farce of a company and attempt at one lunch hour to sell it to the school population. I see O2 (Options and Opportunities) courses offered to a handful of students at a few schools where they might run a DJ service, catering service or landscaping company. Because it is done under the guise of "learning" none of the profits go to the students but back to the programs. Where Gabriel has been successful in his entrepreneurship you will find his passion. I quote him saying "I love this stuff," in referring to his 3D printing company. Passion cannot be taught but it can be nurtured and encouraged. Entrepreneurs generate ideas, work long hours, fail and pull themselves back up again because they have tasted success. Success comes in the form of freedom to make decisions and make mistakes. The money generated from those successes re-energizes his passion. The current educational fashion is to make learning authentic. Nothing is more authentic than running your own business. An entrepreneurship course that has students create their own businesses and run it for a period of time would be the most authentic opportunity. But alas, the education -35-

system gets in the way. Capital and resources are not available for students to benefit from learning, not to mention all the other bureaucracy that has to be in place. Then it is only available to a select few, and in our high school, it is not those headed for post-secondary which is a disservice to our entire community. Want to improve students' education in Nova Scotia? Bring back authentic entrepreneurship learning. Multidisciplinary units that teach entrepreneurship should be taught at the highest levels of middle school and involve real entrepreneurs! Encourage authentic learning opportunities. Why is it that not anyone can teach math, but anyone can run a business? Not so! Technology provides a multitude of opportunities but teachers who are not up on app development or 3D printing hesitate to lead their students down that path because frankly, entrepreneurship is not a learning "outcome". Change the outcomes and prepare Nova Scotia students for the new economy.

That's my two cents worth! Cheers, Rob

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