Can Kids Feel Empowered To Reshape The Education System? #TEDActiveEDU

Can Kids Feel Empowered To Reshape The Education System? #TEDActiveEDU

TEDActive is asking how we can empower kids to take control of their futures by reshaping their own classroom experience.

Timothy Ryan, PSFK Labs
  • 25 february 2011

The team at idea-sharing conference TED have been asking for folks to get involved with TEDActive Projects. The TEDActive Education Project will explore how children can make an impact on the education system. TED hopes to come out of this venture with fresh ideas for ways kids can start an education revolution.

PSFK actively engaged our expert network, the PurpleList, to provide stimulus for the attendees working on this project. Today we’re publishing the answers that came in from around the world to the following question:

How can we empower kids to reshape the education system?

Waichi Yeung is an expert in the marketing and advertising industry and is located in New York.

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).

Scott James is an expert in the marketing and advertising industry and is located in San Francisco

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.

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.

Erica Oliveira is an expert in the marketing and advertising industry and is located in Rio De Janeiro.

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 commenting about their 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.

Deanna Lawrence is an expert in the marketing and advertising industry and is located in Ann Arbor.

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.

Trudee Lunden is an expert in the marketing and advertising industry and is located in Los Angeles.

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!

The Purple List: How can we empower kids to reshape the educational system?

Image by Billerickson


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