I was inspired when watching this TED talk by Kiran Bir Sethi from November 2009:
Kiran Bir Sethi teaches kids to take charge
I found myself nodding in agreement with virtually everything that Kiran was saying. It resonated with many of the ideas that you will find on this site, especially our writing about good enquiry questions. We have outlined four priciples for a good question:
1. Have a problem to solve (allows enquiry to happen and to engage the learners)
2. Make it thought-provoking (is open-ended and encourages debate)
3. Make it relevant (instantly connects with students and is accessible enough that all with have an opinion)
4. Make it real (is seen by or involves an audience outside the classroom, something bigger than just learning)
I absolutely agree that the best learning is that which is able to “blur the boundaries between school and life” and that a key concern of all educators should be to ‘infect’ students with the ‘I Can’ bug. This supports many of the findings that Daniel Pink outlines in his book Drive, about what motivates students to learn and the work of Dan Ariely in The Upside of Irrationality
I thought the three step process outlined in the TED talk was clear and I will definitely be giving it a try with my Year 7 ICT class in September:
Aware (see the change)
Enable (be changed)
Empower (lead the change)
However, for me, as an educator, the most powerful and interesting part was when Karin demonstrated the experiences they were about to change. The idea of fully emmersing students in the topic they are studying is a really powerful one. It links with something that I saw at the TEEP trainers Conference recently, where two teachers planned a slavery experience and encouraged other staff to construct their own. The difference here was that the ‘slavery experience’ was a hook to engage students, whereas in Karin’s approach it has a stronger role, making students fully aware of what it is that they are aiming to change.
This process allows students to emotionally connect to the learning, but it also means that students will bring emotion to their work and persuassion of others to change. This is something thinking about and it is truly inspirational.