It was a transformative, energizing experience and I’m still reeling from it.
One of the many highlights from the weekend was joining half of our TIE team for an intimate conversation and workshop with artist and superstar TED speaker Raghava KK.
Here are some of my takeaways that are still inspiring and disrupting me almost two weeks later.
1. INNOVATIVE EDUCATION IS DISRUPTIVE
And people are going to be uncomfortable about it (see #2).
The old ways aren’t working and the new ways require missteps along the way. That means the English teacher who is still grading based on MLA format needs to join forces with the STE(A)M teacher rallying her students with #SocialJusticeMath so that all of us together can transition our schools into the 21st Century.
It’s going to be the old ways together with the new ways before the new ways take over completely and leave teachers clutching textbooks and five-paragraph essays behind. We still have time. We need to collaborate.
Our students are sprinting into the future. Their Snapchat messages are all emojis and acronyms because they’re in a hurry, they have a lot to do, they are doing everything all at once all of the time. If schools don’t figure out how to meet them where they are, it won’t be our students who are left behind.
2. SCHOOLS CURRENTLY SERVE PARENTS, NOT STUDENTS OR TEACHERS
Raghava KK (and also this former Administrator of the Year) spoke about how schools do a disservice to students and teachers when planning is parent-centered. I would clarify that the majority of student parents are great, but that schools end up ruled by the three specific kinds of parents that the NAIS defined in their succinctly titled article Parents Who Bully the School.
But bullies shouldn’t be in charge (not of schools, not of countries). Students of all grade levels should be leading their own learning alongside their peers and the trained adults who have committed their professional lives to finding innovative ways to support students in becoming their most capable selves.
IDEAS FOR STUDENT AND TEACHER LEADERSHIP:
Socratic Seminars for student-led assessments that invite students to practice dinner party skills.
Project-based Advertising For Good to inspire students to see themselves as active citizens.
Teacher-led Twitter chats such as #TEDEdChat (every Tuesday, 3 PM PST) and #WATeachLead (every other Sunday, 7 PM PST) are amplifying teacher voices and connecting education leaders from all over the world across disciplines and grade levels.
3. CURATION IS THE MOST ACCESSIBLE FORM OF CREATIVITY
Creativity is traditionally framed as elusive at best, magical at its most unteachable. And yet creativity is perhaps the most highly hailed of all of the 4 Cs as the paramount “21st Century skill” expected of teachers to impart on their students across disciplines and grade levels.
Although magical classrooms are popular to invoke in Teacher Appreciation Week memes, magic is not actually possible to plan for in curriculum development. But curation? That we can plan for. Free social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram make it easy for students to collect, share, and collaborate.
LESSON IDEAS TO INSPIRE STUDENT CREATIVITY THROUGH CURATION:
Design a playlist for a protagonist.
Collect photographs inspired by evolution.
Create a reading list about the 2016 presidential election based on the themes involving gender.
4. IT’S GOING TO TAKE GUTS
Now more than ever it’s a brave act of rebellion and self-preservation just to be ourselves out in public. But this kind of authenticity, more than any professional development on the 4C’s or innovation in the classroom, is what will show our students that we are capable of supporting them as we all navigate this quickly-changing, seemingly illogical world that requires us to continue to think creatively and critically even if our elected leaders appear not to.
As he wrapped up our workshop Raghava left us with a question: “Do we have the guts to live authentically in front of these kids?” I think we do. And I think it’s going to be messy and surprising and we’re going to have to figure it out together as we go.
I’m grateful to be on this TED-Ed team as we do just that. Interested in learning more about disrupting education through ideas worth spreading? Find information about becoming a TED-Ed Innovative Educator here.
Find all of Kristin’s CorelaborateWA.org blog posts here.
Latest posts by Kristin Leong (see all)
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