The Key to Improving Our Education System: Understanding the Recipe of Learning

Shawn K. ChangBlog, Engage Better, Reflect Better, Self Care Better


  • Understanding the recipe of learning will help our education system improve. Instead of focusing on professional development, personal development should be at the center for both teachers and students.
  • Jim Rohn, entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker, helped guide this understanding with his words and teachings.
  • Adding additional variables to “fix” something rather than focusing on the existing variables won’t change the results.
  • The research can be continued by enlisting your help.

The Recipe for Successful Learning

I have worked in many capacities throughout my 23-year educational career.  In the last 10 years, I have contemplated many key issues, realizing and trying to figure out what is wrong with our education system.  Through my personal observation, experiences, and research, the following is a list of my own personal findings of our problem and the solution. 

Many students struggled mightily with connecting with people.  Parents are increasingly becoming disconnected and frustrated with their child’s education.  Teachers are being taught to believe they are doing the right thing by teaching literacy first.  Administrators are stressed with making sure they’re compliant with following federal and state mandates.  New teachers are not prepared and knowledgeable about the psychology and philosophy of education.  And I was getting exhausted at trying to make it all work.  What I learned is that everyone had their own perception of success.  Not one knew that there is a “recipe for successful learning.”

Then one day, it started to come together after I listened to a few of Jim Rohn’s personal development audiobooks.  

Emanuel James Rohn, professionally known as Jim Rohn, was an American entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker.  I listened to his audiobooks for days…meditating on his words and knowledge.  His strategies resonated with me because they were first taught to me by my grandfather some 40 years ago.  These strategies are what made me into a problem solver, overcoming my own struggles in many ways.  These strategies were the recipe for my successful learning.  Then I began to ask…

Why aren’t Jim Rohn’s principles being taught to teachers today? 

“Work harder on yourself, not on your job.” – Jim Rohn

Jim Rohn talked a lot about personal development.  His quote, “If you want your circumstances to change, YOU have to change,” was the point when the light bulb went on in my head.  To get better in your craft, you have to “work harder on yourself, not on your job.”  There is a recipe for learning successfully, even if it’s learning to improve ourselves.

I have been practicing this recipe for learning successfully, or what most call personal development, for 40 years without even realizing it.  In my 23 year career as a Special Educator, I don’t remember any training of any sort relating to personal development.  Yet here is Jim, saying that we must work harder on ourselves than we do on our job if we want our circumstances in our job to improve. 

That’s pretty profound.  And he is right. 

By working on myself, I’m able to overcome many personal adversities.  Many teachers I have engaged with do not have this skill.  Unfortunately, many more students we teach are not taught this skill either.  

We need to understand the recipe for successful learning within ourselves. 

But as God puts it in the Bible, we have to not concentrate on the speck in our friend’s eye because there’s a huge plank in our own eye.  Many people mistakenly practice getting better at strategies to take care of someone else but neglect to practice the recipe for learning successfully within ourselves.

If we want our students to improve, we, the educators must improve. Click To Tweet”  

Jim Rohn helped point me in the right direction. 

His teachings are rich and have become the basis on this journey of the mission of mind to focus on the “personal development” of teachers and students instead of “professional development.”

His references to the Bible, lessons shared by stories, have become a model of how I want and am starting to apply in my engagement with whomever I have the pleasure of teaching.  There are many others with whom I resonate and learn from; I embody their knowledge into my own.  And I’ve come to an amazing place where I am ready to change the education system because I am tired of seeing kids fall through the cracks. 

I wouldn’t have been able to continue the race of trying to improve the education system for our children without help from God.  He sustains me in all my ways and gives me the courage to do this.  I am grateful for his love and guidance. 

Because I was actively searching, I was able to find the answers.  And find the answer I did.  

Jim talks about how change happens and what starts it.  It’s our thoughts.  Our philosophies and beliefs.

This got me to think. There’s a process to everything.  Jim talked about the fruit of the tree.  And that what we think, if done correctly, will create an emergence of great ideas.  Those ideas, if put into action, will produce great rewards and results.

So I asked myself this question…

What if the puzzle I am trying to solve was actually a formula?

A + B + C + D = E

And what if in order to prove E true, we have to follow in sequence, A + B + C  + D?  So if E is not the result we’re expecting, then something must be wrong with A, B, C, or D?  Right?  Well, that’s not what is being practiced by many people.  Often, the quick solution is to add an intervention to the formula so the formula looks like this…

A + B + C + D + F = E

The problem I see in this is another variable was added on top of the problem, so the same result keeps happening.  The medical field does it when they treat the symptom and not the variables that cultivated the illness in the first place.  The education field does it when they add interventions and literacy to students who have language difficulties that cause behavior and learning difficulties.  And the people in life do it when they take drugs to cover up and ignore the thoughts that go on in their minds that they seem to not control.  

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The Bible, which I consider the ultimate teacher’s manual, is God’s way of modeling and showing us the correct way of learning development.  Why didn’t anyone say this to me?  It took me applying some specific philosophies taught to me from a very young age to crack this case wide open.  And I want to teach others how to do the same.  

But first I need to focus on the variable “A” in the problem above.  Jim Rohn says our lives are built on first our beliefs and philosophies about ourselves.  So I asked myself this question below back in January 2021, and I struggled to answer it for 3 months.  The question is…

What is my philosophy and belief about the purpose of a teacher?

I really struggled with this question but some research and deep contemplations came.  And I found my answer.  I’ll share my answer in the following posts.  But for now, I’m doing more research and need your help in answering this same question.

“What is a teacher’s true purpose?”

“What is your purpose as a teacher to students?” Sometimes I would rephrase the question if they didn’t understand it. “What is our purpose as teachers?”

I won’t go further in this post but would love for you to answer this question for me and to tell me a few other things. 1) Your name, of course. 2) Where are you currently? 3) What do you teach? 4) Then answer the question from the point of reference of your role.

I am also presenting this question to parents.  This study is very interesting, and it would be very helpful as I try to put the pieces of this complex puzzle together to help you understand the problem as I see it. 

Thank you for being patient. I promise it will all come together like a completed puzzle. Thank you for reading.

About Shawn K. Chang

Shawn K. Chang is an American special Education Resource Educator, soon-to-be author, coach, speaker, and philanthropist. Shawn is known for his 23 years of teaching in the public school system in the states of Hawaii, 14 years of which specifically provides support, training, and consultative coach to teachers and administrators with everything surrounding special education and special education law. His passion is to help those who can’t help themselves and help the students of the education system to connect with the world. Shawn has a passion for reshaping the education system and redefining and refocusing trainings to individuals from professional development to personal development. Be prepared for what’s to come from Shawn K. Chang.