Blog Post 13: What Can We Learn from Sir Robinson’s Favorite TED Talks?
Author: Douglas R. Jarvis Jr.
Arvind Gupta takes us on a marvelous journey in his talk about using things we normally would simply toss away in order to provide interactive teaching tools for children. He provides examples of using rubber tubing and match sticks to create countless mathematical shapes that could be used to teach angles, geometry, engineering and so many other lessons. He shows us how to create pumps from bicycle tubes and straws and generators from batteries, magnets, and paperclips. His ingenuity is a prime example that even the poorest school system can find ways to provide children with hands on learning tools. We get so bogged down in worrying about how to afford fancy classroom supplies. However, what really matters is teaching your students in a way that captivates them. By using these inexpensive methods, you can allow students to have hands on interaction and really see why the science or math involved creates the desired effect. We can all learn from this method of education. Face it, many school systems are going to be reluctant or unwilling to provide us money for projects. As teachers, we can use Mr. Gupta’s ideas to turn our trash into toys built by our students.
It has been proven time after time that people learn best from practical experience. Yet, so many teachers continue to take the learning out of the students hands and force them to endure tedious and non-motivating lectures. Imagine listening to a lecture on shapes in your geometry class; now instead use, the rubber tubing and match sticks and let your students build the shapes and explore the strengths and weaknesses of each shape while you discuss the lesson. The student is intrigued because he wants to learn how to make the more interesting ones and captivated when he gets to play with his creation. Learning can be fun, it does not have to be a chore. We all know what it is like to be watching the clock praying for the bell. So lets all fight against that and create classrooms that our students don’t want to leave. We don't have to have a lot of money, just the desire and drive to learn how to maximize the resources we have.
In Kakenya Ntaiya’s video, “A Girl Who Demanded School” she tells the inspirational story about her educational journey. Kakenya made a deal with her father about undergoing the traditional Maasai rite of passage if he would let her go to high school. In the Maasai culture the boys grow up to be warriors and the girls will be mothers. At five years old, Kakenya found out her parents had already arranged her marriage for her. She was expected to a perfect woman so that she could become a perfect wife one day. However, Kakenya’s mother was denied an education and she always wanted better for her children, so she pushed Kakenya and her siblings to get an education. Kakenya’s mother wanted a better life for her children than the one she was living. The case was very different with her father who would abuse her mother and Kakenya’s mom could not question him because she was merely a woman. Kakenya’s dream was to become a teacher when she went to school and so she worked hard. As she was approaching high school, she told her father she would only go through the Maasai ceremony if he let her continue school. He accepted because he did not want dishonor brought to his family. Kakenya went as far to apply for college and was accepted to a women’s college in Leesburg, Virginia. She needed the support of the village because even though she had a scholarship she had to raise money for her plane ticket. The village felt it was a wasted opportunity on a girl and should have been given to a boy instead. However, she was able to work with her village elders and she arrived in America. Kakenya said she was overwhelmed with enjoyment, but she also learned that what they did to her body during the ceremony in Kenya was against the law. It is called female mutilation and many more girls in Kenya are at risk of undergoing this. She learned that she had a right to her body and a right to an education. She also learned that her mom had a right to own property and did not deserve to be abused because she was a woman. Kakenya’s journey to America was a culture shock and a new eye opener for this young woman. It made her so angry when she discovered the news that she wanted to do something about this. She returned to Kenya and said she wanted to give back to the community. The people of the community and Kakenya came up with a school for girls. The Kakenya Center for Excellence was established in 2009 with 32 students. The school is just for girls and it focuses on academics, leadership and female empowerment, as well as life skills. Kakenya also works with donors to provide scholarships for those who cannot afford tuition.
What can we learn from these TED talks?
We can learn so much from Kakenya’s inspirational story. First of all, her story should remind us of how blessed we truly are to live in the land of opportunity and to be able to have the option of earning a degree. We also have a public education school system where children can get an education at no cost to their parents. So many of us take education for granted and many people drop out from high school before they even receive their diploma. This young woman wanted nothing more than to have a chance at receiving an education. She was able to fulfill her goals and dreams of becoming a teacher. Not only did she become a teacher, but she also became a wonderful role model to her home community. Kakenya is an absolute blessing to the young ladies that attend her school in Africa. She teaches us to follow our dreams and never give up even if it is not an easy journey. She is an outstanding example of what a teacher should be. We need to reach out and help our students to be successful in all that they do. Kakenya’s story was remarkable and it will always serve as a reminder to me.
Author: Autumn Sprouse
For this blog, I chose to watch Charles Leadbeater's video, “Education Innovation in the Slums”. Charles Leadbeater is a British author who writes on topics such as innovation and creativity. Leadbeater has advised many companies, cities, and even governments around the world on innovation strategy. He has written many popular books and continues to express his knowledge on education. Leadbeater decided to start off in Monkey Hill, Rio in one of the biggest slums in the country. There he met a boy who dropped out of school at the age of fourteen. That boy started working in a business to make money, and at the age of sixteen was running the business and had hired over 1,000 people to work for him. This young man would be expected to be dead by the age of 24. Living in the slums means a high death rate of AIDS and the life expectancy is low. Out of a room full of kids, over half of them do not have parents, and the other half only have one parent because of the AIDS epidemic. Luckily, this same boy met a guy in Rio who had installed the first computers in classrooms for the children of Rio. Leadbeater says with education and technology, there is a chance for hope. This video also showed the computers that Sugata Mitra used in his homeland. Leadbeater showed a room full of students learning on computers and explained how they are reinventing the slums. Leadbeater says that we need more reinventions to improve our schools. Our schools may look the same from the outside, but from the inside we need to push forward to new technology. He also says we need to encourage our students more. Students are not going to want to further their education if we are not their backbone. This video taught me so much about the slums and the education there. I'm so glad that people like Charles Leadbeater had the chance to go over there and make a difference to people to who are less fortunate. Leadbeater had many great ideas to bring to Rio, and to classrooms today around the world.
What can we learn from these TED talks?
Author: Kynyetta Barren
In the video, ”, Teaching One Child at a Time Shukla Bose talks about how she started the Parkrma Humanity Foundation. The foundation helps the children in India who live in the slums get an education. She went to the slums to identify houses where children lived who would never get to go to school. Bose then began talking to parents about getting their children into school. Shukla didn’t want to play the number game anymore, she made an effort to make a change. She wanted to provide the children of India with a better education. The foundation started a school with about 165 children. The foundation built more schools and even a junior college. Bose speaks about three myths that are believed in India. The first myth is that no one in the slums can speak English. that myth is not true, Bose showed a video to the audience of two children speaking English. the second myth was that parents do not like their children going to school. That’s totally wrong. Shukla stated that parents are very supportive and want their children going to school. The last myth was that children who lived in the slums did not integrate with other children who do not live in the slums. Once again, Bose presented a video of a girl that was given an opportunity to go to a camp with other students that didn’t live in the slums. The children were excited to make friends with the other children who didn’t live in the slums. The reason the schools became successful is that the schools and teachers operated under the idea, “one child at a time”, which means they would educate students focusing on treating each child as an individual. The idea of the Parikrma Humanity Foundation is to educate children and prepare them for the real world. Shukla stated at the end of her presentation, “what is in the building is not important, all that matters is what the children are learning.” This statement is so true! We learn that we can make a difference in any child’s life with education. Just by taking one step at a time to accomplish something so big for children of the future.We want our children with the best education possible. It’s very heartwarming to listen to what she did for the children of India.