TED Conversations

Jason Wolfe

Speaker Curator / Teacher, TEDxTokyo

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What is the best way to use a TEDx event to motivate teachers to be more creative, entertaining, innovative, enthralling, etc.?

I am starting to think about the next TEDxTokyoTeachers and I would love to hear what the TED community has to say about motivating teachers TED style. I know there are a lot of workshops and education seminars that focus on making better teachers, but what can I do with a few hours, a few drinks, and a TEDx format to make better teachers?

If you are in the Tokyo area in March I would be more than willing to get your idea on stage.


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    Gail . 50+

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    Sep 25 2012: I can only speak of the US educational paradigm, and what I have to say is not good. Educators seem to be the biggest deterrent to educational reform. They cling to the pedagogical view that teachers are there to teach and students are there to learn. It is a rare teacher (I've never met one, but I love the videos you present and have seen others) who believes that teachers are there to inspire the joy of learning. They simply do not see that as an objective. They use excuses like standardized testing, but a rare few "get it". One can compete in standardized testing while inspiring the joy of learning. It's more challenging. It requires more of a teacher.

    Two weeks ago, I was in my knitting circle and the issue of the Chicago teachers' strike came up. The majority of the group are retired teachers who supported the strike. They also realized that there has to be reform in education, but from their point of view, that means ending standardized testing.

    I mentioned that I had only recently understood why that is a bad thing, and that the teachers would do well if they would educate parents about why it is a bad thing. No one in the group would let me continue. They didn't want to hear about Dr. Kaku as he explained it. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LelNYqVEOZQ&list=PL89DA217D574A8362&index=8&feature=plpp_video ) Turns out, they don't know what's wrong with it themselves.

    I started to mention a TED video where research is showing that if you put kids in small groups (pods) and allow them to talk about what they are learning, that the kids seem to have visual memory of the events, and they remember things far longer. The group was outraged. Put the desks in a row facing the teacher and let the teachers teach - that's what they're there for.

    I've become pretty convinced that teachers should have term limits. A year of volunteerism. Either that, or teachers should have to compete for students like businesses have to compete for clients.
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      Sep 25 2012: TED Lover,

      It sounds like you were in a very conservative group of teachers/people and as an educator I know some teachers like that, but, and here comes the good news, there are a lot of great teachers out there moving away from just memorizing and testing, and getting kids to work together to solve problems, learn from each other and then later reflect on it by writing it down and learning it again. The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) http://www.ibo.org/ is one very large group that has some great ideas around learning.

      I like your idea of competing for students, could be a great way to stay motivated and in the game. Term limits would also limit really good teachers...how would you keep them in the system?
      • Oct 8 2012: I've heard myself saying "term limits" too and share the fear of losing good teachers, but what if we had an educational system where there is encouragement to move up? For example: a teacher fulfils the term (say 10 years) then moves up into a position of training and mentoring, administration (school level or higher) or curriculum development?

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