Ted talks always seem to blow me away, no matter what age the speaker is. Mostly, we seem to want to hear from “experts” in the field, the ones who have done extensive research, and been able to apply it in their real lives. What happens when we take in to account what children or students want? Is it possible to have a reciprocal relationship with students in the classroom where it is not solely up to the teachers or administration what and how students learn.
Adora Svitak reminds me of Logan and his Ted talk that he gave. As adults, we feel as if we are the experts in our field, which is life. We think that the restrictions and rules we put in place for students in the classroom are always necessary. As adults we are more straightforward and generally more rational thinkers. But, this is not always great as Adora points out. As adults we limit ourselves to what the rational part of our mind can imagine, and what we do is place these same limitations on our students in the classroom as well.
Instead of letting what we as adults can rationally fathom, we should learn from students as Adora suggests. In the classroom we should have our students help us choose the kind of materials we use as manipulatives and aids. Our students will be as digitally and technologically as advanced as we are, so why don’t we enlist their help in finding educational sites and resources that we can use in the classroom? Also, instead of giving them restrictions on what they can and cannot use for oral presentations, why don’t we allow them to run where their imaginations might take them and let them blow us away?
Observing parents with their young children as well as teachers you hear a lot of : “no, that’s not right, do it this way.” When children color outside of the lines, have huge ambitions, or think big ideas that don’t seem rational to us, we bring them back to what we think are acceptable expectations. Again, instead we should look to students and children to think outside of the box. We can achieve so much if we only let ourselves. Also, our students could achieve so much more if we discontinued our restrictions.
Obviously in life there are restrictions that are put on children and students that are there only to keep them safe or out of trouble. Neither child nor adult knows everything. But, think of the endless possibilities that could occur if we only worked together utilizing our children’s and students’ voices instead of stifling their curiosity and creativity.