TED Conversations

Erik Richardson

Teacher, Richardson Ideaworks, Inc.

TEDCRED 500+

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How do we re-embody the education system?

We are embodied. We are not just minds but our education system (and the cubicle farm waiting at the end of it) treats us as if we are. Exploration and adventure were once ways that the more restless souls among us could break out and push back our frontiers in one way or another. As many of the talks above show, that particular part of our worldview has been lost-even when talking about explorers. (Wolfe's attempt to compare microbiology research to exploits in Egypt or the rainforest are a good encapsulation of that loss.)

As a teacher, I constantly see students who are restless and brilliant but are stifled by being trapped in a room, in a desk, listening, or scribbling words and numbers down on paper. These restless kids are all too often our best thinkers, our future innovators, our Columbuses and our Florence Nightingales; but we hold down their bodies and that holds down their minds. Ken's talk is great, but it misses it's own best point: it's not creativity that saved the dancer - it's recovering the body.

The question is, besides just adding more physical education classes back into the curriculum, how do we create an education system that is embodied? How do we recover physicality to open up our mind's real potential?

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  • Jul 23 2012: Give our students research and presentation assignments that requires them to learn skills along the way but also allows them to freely move, interview, collaborate, in large part just the way an investigative journalist or research scientist might work. Don't just lock them up in a desk for hours at a time memorizing facts in books.
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      Jul 25 2012: This view of the status quo in schools is extremely out of date. What you propose- research and presentation assignments as well as opportunities to interview and collaborate- have been standard fair in school for decades.

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