TED Conversations

Kyra Gaunt

Speaker, Author, Entrepreneur, Assoc.Professor, Kyraocity Works

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Real Freedom in Higher Education (Fueling Productivity with Passion & Greatness)

I have been teaching for over 15 years and students rarely walk into the classroom engaged and addicted to study. Worse, they rarely leave their college experience that way. I am on a mission to empower 100,000 students from around the world to be thought leaders as consumers of their own productivity.

On February 11, 2011 I spoke at the opening ceremony of ISFiT 2011, the International Student Festival in Trondheim. It is the largest student run festival in the world. As I write this, there are 525 participants from over 110 countries. We had Hans Rosling speak two nights ago.

I spoke to them about a revolutionary shift in their thinking as world leaders. There is nothing to do to be great. You are already great if you were born human. No need to wait to be great citizens, "future" professionals and great human beings as many institutional missions charge. Learning begins with freedom, thrives in not-knowing, and is built on a world that works for all (creating social equities are center of the human project of education). So if one student fails, the professor fails.

What would if be like if the classroom was a playful learning environment where mistakes mattered as part of our growth and learning? Where the source of learning was not books but people? Where professors were lit up and students-as-adults followed their dream

I work with large groups of 30 - 1000 and need you to design your school's solutions. Join me http://eepurl.com/cxTkA

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    Mar 15 2011: Dear Kyra, thank you for having started this dialogue. As an educator, I am always hoping to meet people like you for inspiration and to make me feel that I am not alone in places where my way may easily be the "way-out-there" type of way. I have recently joined JiLiang University in Xiasha, Higher Education Zone of Hangzhou, in China. I have also taught in the Middle East for four years. Here in China I teach Business English to International Trade and Marketing majors, Chinese students in third year of their studies who haven't had any work experience what-so-ever. In China, the culture of learning is very different than what you talk about - it's the old traditional spoon-fed education which kills creativity and makes the young minds dull and passive. I have decided to start a little project for and with my students called "International Business Society" in which students get a chance to participate in different events from being part of the organizing team to simply being an audience to the many events we want to put together including attending TEDx events in Hangzhou for learning new things and for networking. These kids crave for things that are different, cool and exciting, events that make them think and challenge them. The goal is to have the students experience practically what the business books teach them... While they DO it, the direct experience of the business "theory" expressed in English will become part of their lives.

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