Education Inspiration

I was listening to a recent TED Radio Hour episode on Rethinking School. The four chapters of the episode inspired some observations:

How do we get kids hooked to science? Start with stories, and use the right level of details. It’s okay to not be 100% accurate and it’s okay to leave out details, because it’s more important to get someone to understand the concepts before they can go deep on the details. Your approach to educate a 13 years-old should be different from talking to a PhD researcher.

What can we learn from comparing education systems around the wold? There are places where teaching is a coveted and prestegious profession. Students are more likely to succeed if they have a growth mentality toward their learning, rather than one where success is only possible for those gifted at specific subjects. With so much information available, focus on how to creatively use concepts rather than regurgitating them.

Sal Khan’s approach to a physical school: Focus on progression and advancement, mix students from different ages rather than separating them by grade levels.

Empowering students in poverty Linda Cliatt-Wayman uses several slogans to get her message across to students and teachers.

  • “So what, now what” rhetorically encourages them to take ownership of their future regardless of their unfair and unfortunate circumstances.
  • She also reminds them her unconditional love toward them and of her belief in their ability to succeed. Every day on the PA system, “If no one told you today that they love you. Remember that I do, and I always will.”

That last part reminds me of the Radical Candor framework. The person you are trying to help won’t be receptive until they see that you actually care about them.

It takes a lot of work to create a safe learning environment, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have experienced it at schools, at home, and at work. Four years ago, I posed a similar question to consider what our learning environments could look like after we graduate from school.