Connect. Collaborate. Risk. Innovate.

Connect. Collaborate. Risk. Innovate.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Rethinking Education at TEDxWestVancouverED

How do we prepare our students for a future that is largely unimaginable? What essential qualities will they need in order to propel our society forward? What do educators require in order to be able to take up the challenge put forth by grade 7 student Gia Da Roza, to provide an "extraordinary education"? Well, when it comes to "Rethinking Education" what I discovered is that there are more questions than answers. But here's the good news. That's ok. Because what I also discovered is that as educators, we don't need to have all of the answers. And I must admit, that's a bit of a relief.

In the same way that Australian educator Kath Murdoch encourages us to create a classroom climate in which students are "comfortable with uncertainty", as educators, we must also learn to become comfortable with uncertainty. And that is a challenge. Because you see, many of us grew up in a traditionally structured educational system, where not knowing the answer was a bad thing. And questioning our teachers was viewed as disrespectful and disruptive. 
Gia challenges educators to provide an "extraordinary education" for our students. No pressure there!

But here's more good news. We're not in this thing alone. We have partners. Because "Rethinking Education" requires a shift that propels learning out from behind the desk, and into the world beyond the classroom. It requires input from community leaders and entrepreneurs, from doctors and authors, from athletes and scientists, from politicians and parents. And it requires input from our students. As Adora Svitak emphasized in her TED talk, "learning between between grown ups and kids should be reciprocal". Who better to help us chart a path towards a future that is largely unimaginable than the individuals who will be an integral part of that future?

"Rethinking Education" requires us to continue to move away from an educational system that valued facts over creativity, and obedience over innovation. We need to continue to value the voices of our students. We need to encourage questioning and wonder. And then, we need to listen. Because if we listen, our students might just tell us what they need. And they don't need us to have all of the answers. As TEDx speaker, Silken Laumann so insightfully stated, our students don't care about what we know, they care that we care.  And after listening to the powerful, inspiring and passionate speakers at TEDxWestVancouverED today, and having an opportunity to speak with many of the equally passionate educators who attended, without a doubt, we do.

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