How can we empower kids to reshape the education system? #TEDActiveEDU
The folks at idea-sharing TED are asking for folks to get involved with TEDActive Projects. They are asking conference goers and PSFK's friends to explore, collaborate and act on the vital issues raised at TED. We are actively engaging our expert network, the Purple List, to provide stimulus for the teams working on these projects. More here: http://conferences.ted.com/TEDActive2011/projects/
... We are asking PurpleList members to contribute answers to key questions with the goal of delivering a set of micro-actions that anyone can do to move a project.
The TEDActive Education Project will explore how children can make an impact on the education system. TED hope to come out of this project with fresh ideas for ways kids can start an education revolution.
PSFK & TEDActive welcome all answers from any PurpleList member and I will personally be sharing them with to the TEDActive community.
Public unpaid question.
How kids can start an education revolution? Maybe the simplest thing would be to allow them to share time with each other. Kids learn a lot from each other but do they have the time and space to do so?
Their schedules are full, classrooms are over-crowded and teaching material is mostly geared to listen and learn as an individual instead of as a group. They can’t even breath without a schedule. The best revolution starts with freedom of choice and pace and let’s not forget that
1.Kids want to learn.
2. Kids want to be respected.
3. Kids love to look up to someone.
4. Kids are social community builders & enhancers..online and offline.
I don’t think everything has to be taught through games, fashion and music…but it has to be with purpose, simple and user friendly.
My answer is of a holistic approach, that is learned by many in adulthood after many trials & tribulations...
By teaching kids their infinite potential as creators and a creative force; and employing positive reinforcement rather than negative. The majority of this world as parents and authority figures teach children what cannot be done, impossibilities - for various reasons, mostly economic circumstances. Therefore, children grow up limiting their own potential because they were taught to believe money rules all decisions at the end and if you don't have it, then what you want to do or become is not possible because in that moment of time the means is seemingly not there. However, all things are possible for everyone, if they only feel empowered enough that it's possible for themselves regardless of circumstances. In my experience mentoring high school kids, I've seen how greatly their household financial circumstances and parents' constant complaints of lack of money/resources affect the kids' outlook, ability to learn, and choices.
I believe this is fundamental to their self-expression, ability to think independently, and take advantage of what a scholastic institution has to offer. This will shape their relationship with their teachers and education (as a concept).
By encouraging kids to think for themselves they can reshape their future, however, under the current educational system and family hierarchy structure, their power is limited at best.
A wise friend once told me there's no right or wrong, only the truth. To successfully live in the practical world children need to learn the basics (reading, writing, arithmetic) and beyond that explore all possibilities to find an appropriate direction where they can make a contribution to society and fulfill their unique destiny.
In college I read a book called "Think On These Things" by Jiddu Krishnamurti and absorbing his philosophic wisdom was akin to mind altering drugs! Rather than becoming drone-like worker bees in a society that primarily rewards innovation, we simply need to teach and encourage our kids to THINK!
Here's one review from Amazon which explains this book (and its potential) more fully: [I've read over 25 Krishamurti books, including all the "big ones" like Freedom from the Known, The First and Last Freedom, Total Freedom, Awakening of Intelligence, Flight of the Eagle, Krishmaurti's Notebook, etc., many of which I've read more than once. I've given all of them away to share K's message but kept four of them which I keep as references for focused daily reflection/meditation (as opposed to the meditation of all waking life). The four I've kept are Freedom from the Known, On God, On Right Livelihood, and Education and the Significance of Life (the last one of great relevance to me since I'm an educator). And so now I always recommend (and often give) the first three books on that list I just mentioned to anyone who wants to learn more about K's "teachings." "Freedom from the Known" is the single best, most concise and thorough summary of all K's teachings. "On God" should greatly help anyone who is searching for ultimate reality, Truth, God, Enlightenment, Nirvana, The Meaning of Life, or whatever one wants to call it. No summary will do it justice; you must read it for yourself. "On Right Livelihood" addresses the issue of our daily living, in work, leisure, and even to some degree home life and family relationship, because, as K emphasizes, they all should be an integrated whole, not fragmented parts of our lives. "Education and the Significance of Life" is also or relevance to anyone who has children or who teaches; it will transform the way you view child rearing and education. I would say that those four books would be all a person would need to transform one's life; to have a radical revolution in living. Now that being said, why do I still highly recommend "Think on These Things?" It and Life Ahead are numbers Five and Six on my list; those two are books that I never keep for myself, but I often give to others: mostly children and young adults, or people who otherwise either wouldn't enjoy or couldn't handle the relatively more complex and philosophically-oriented nature of K's other works; I even gave copies of them to my mentally-disabled adult sister, and she is able to understand these latter two books. This is because both "Think on These Things" and "Life Ahead" were talks given to young students and their parents, and both the language K uses and the ideas themselves seem much more simple and direct, yet retain all their power and vibrancy. I highly recommend "Think on These Things" and "Life Ahead" as gifts, or for any reader who wants a more "accessible" Krishnamurti.]
I believe whoever reads this and K's other books, young or old, will begin and/or continue on a path to enlightenment, which is the very best of what a real education can offer. Perhaps reading this book to students in every class in auditoriums across the country will be a way to (r)evolutionize the current educational system. And let the parents share in this experience.
Argentina is working hard about education.
The government developed a site to put all the innovations, projects and new regulations about education in a site.
Interesting to see what's going on in the southern part of the American Continent
Consider the process of collective learning, just as adults share ideas and provoke new perspectives. Enabling a child’s role as a teacher could stimulate a lasting interest in learning more, so as to have more to share. A reciprocal process of learning and sharing would be created, introduced at an early age with life-long benefits.
Seen this? About TEDActive Projects for children.
It's a new Swedish company that develop learning apps for children.
In the end, if we want to change the education system, we need to change who we each are in it. I think empowering students (and teachers) is about valuing what an individual brings to the table, engaging with a group from where you are and learning through the process of relevant challenges.
As Paolo Friere said, “Education must begin with the solution of the teacher-student contradiction, by reconciling the poles of the contradiction so that both are simultaneously students and teachers” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paulo_Freire#Theoretical_contributions)
I don't think we need some sweeping change that reorganizes the educational system. What we do need to do is recognize that the people in a given room bring a tremendous amount of knowledge and ability to that room, and that "education" is when we all put that knowledge out there and use it to grow and learn from each other.
Empowering children to impact the education system from within is a noble cause, but if we want to truly reshape education in the western world, we could take a lesson from Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers and make it known that more hours in the classroom seems to equal a higher quality of education.
It's an expensive theory to put into practice, but a new generation of well-educated young people isn't going to come cheap, no matter what solution we propose.
I believe we empower children when we give them voice. I mean, listen to them is the first step. Otherwise, it would be a lot of adults elucubrating about children and their education system. I would start doing simple questions to the students:
1.Think of each one of your teachers. If you were one of them, what would you do different and why?
2. Who is your favorite teacher? What does make him/her so special?
Based on these answers, that could be oriented by the schools, we would have a starting point.
From my perspective there are three major aspects to a child's education - 1. the actual content that is taught, 2. the relevance of that content to the world or the job market the child will eventually enter and 3. the way that the content is taught.
Despite the accelerating acceleration of new knowledge creation and the many new technologies becoming available to teach it, the teachers at my (young teen's) school, which is very well regarded, get a big 'F' for taking into account 1,2 or 3 above.
Our kids are pretty smart and I believe that asking them what changes they think they need to improve their educational experience would be a fabulous step in the right direction.
I think that one major and simple way that we can empower our kids is to ask them 3 standard questions as follows (with a tip of the hat to Capt Mike Abrashof and his now famous approach to the Captaincy of the USS Benfold):
1. What do you most like about how and what you are taught by your teacher(s) ?
2. What do you least like about how and what you are taught by your teacher(s) ?
3. What thing(s) would you change about how and what you are taught to make it better for you ?
I beleive the kids will answer with insight and candour that will surprise and educate us all. Sure, sure 'no homework' will no doubt feature but if we apply Surowiecki's Wisdom of Crowds approach to normalise response across many kids, I believe we will gets some strong pointers as to how to improve education to suit the recipients.