TED Conversations

Rachel Miller


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What's your story?

Unlike a typical "question-answer" forum, I am deeply interested in learning the stories of people from around the world. There's no "right" or "wrong," just a space for sharing what makes you, you!

TED and TEDx speakers are given a literal stage for sharing their story, their passion. But what about YOUR story? And YOUR passion? Every single person - an official TED-talker or not! - deserves a platform for sharing their story.

Ever since I can remember, my parents have always said "You ask too many questions!" because I've always been a curious person (and especially a curious child - I bet my parents didn't think they would have to answer so many questions about, well, everything!). As an adult, that curiosity has turned into a fascination with learning about why we are the way we are, and how we get to where we are right now.

"What's your passion?" is actually a pretty loaded question. Because within it is history, hope, pain, experience, knowledge, and the list goes on. But by starting to ask ourselves what defines our "story" and our "passion," I truly believe that this is where our hope for a better future begins.

Maybe you're still figuring out what your passion is, or what it means for your own life. That's ok! I believe that by starting the dialogue about our story, the themes of passion unfold by looking in retrospect over our lives.

So, what's your passion? Where does your story start? And where is it now?

I'm excited to read your responses!


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  • Aug 5 2013: My passion is learning and education. During the sixties, i spent summers teaching math in Indian Reservations, Bed-Stuy, South Bronx and the south side of Chicago. One story was my battle with "NEW MATH" something that was popular in the late 50's and early 60-'s. I had students that could discuss set theory but could not do fractions and really did understand addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

    I spent the time making sure they could do a budget, balance a check book, compute the interest rate, how much they were paying for a loan, how to compute the sales tax, etc. I also tried to relate it to what they knew about set theory.
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      Aug 13 2013: Wayne, how interesting that you moved around quite a bit to teach math! Does this passion continue today? How do you see "new math" as it relates in society today - necessary or unnecessary?
      • Aug 13 2013: completely unnecessary - there have been several very good techniques for teaching math but they have fallen on the wayside in the name of progress.
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          Aug 30 2013: As you know, school districts go through periodic adoptions of curriculum materials. The manipulatives are tied to those materials.

          My children are 15, 23, and 26. None learned math with cuisinaire rods. One or two used unifix cubes.
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        Aug 13 2013: "New math" was a phenomenon of that era. It did not work as a k12 pedagogy and was abandoned long ago..
        • Aug 30 2013: and good riddance - a bad idea based on bad assumptions. I am curious Fritzie. My son was introduced to cuisenaire rods in kindergarten and 1st grade. He was doing fractions, multiplication, and division using the rods. By the end of 1st grade, he had the basic concepts of algebra pretty well down.

          7 years later, my daughter started school and they were not using cuisenaire rods. My wife and bought a set and started her on them.

          what happened during those 7 years?

          Asked the director of math education for our school district and was told they are in the closets but no one uses them.

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