How can we create an education system that works for kids? Get inspired with these TED Talks.

‘Every Kid Needs A Champion’ by Rita Pierson

Full of vivaciousness, Rita Pierson talks about the value and importance of human connection. Seek first to understand, as opposed to being understood, Rita urges. And kids don’t learn from people they don’t like. If you made a mistake, apologise to your kids or students. “Tell a kid you’re sorry and they’re shocked.” She sheds important observations from her 40 years of experience as a teacher. Her hope is for educators to connect with students on a real, human persona level.

‘3 Rules To Spark Learning’ by Ramsey Musallam

What does it take to evoke real questions in students? In May 2010, at 35 years old, chemistry teacher Ramsey Musallam was diagnosed with a large aneurysm in his brain. He explains how this life-threatening medical condition jolted him out of his “pseudo-teaching” to understand the true role of an educator – to cultivate curiosity. Questions can be windows to great instruction, but not the other way round, says Ramsey. In his sharing, he gives three rules to spark imagination and learning.

‘Grit: The Power Of Passion And Perseverance’ by Angela Lee Duckworth

At 27 years old, Angela left her high-flying consulting job to become a math teacher to seventh graders in a New York public school. She noticed that IQ was not the only difference between her best and worst students. “What if doing well in school and in life, depends on much more than your ability to learn quickly and easily?” she asks. She went on to study kids and adults in super-challenging settings. In all the settings she surveyed, a certain characteristic stuck out: Grit. She explains her theory of “grit” as a predictor of success.

‘When You Know, The Fear Will Go’ by Dylan Soh, at TEDxSingapore

That feeling where you can dream big. And you can make anything happen. Where is that feeling now? What happened to it? Who better than a 12-year-old to help you rediscover that feeling again. Dylan Soh aims to inspire more people to live in a world of unlimited discovery and possibilities. In “The Big Red Dot”, written by his dad and illustrated by him, he articulately expresses his hopes for Singapore and about the journey in life we all take as a child or as an adult.

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas in the form of short, powerful talks. It began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged. Today, it covers almost all topics, from science to business to global issues. Independent TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

This article was first published in The New Age Parents e-magazine.

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