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Pietro Speroni di Fenizio

Researcher, Coimbra University

TEDCRED 20+

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Should we ask kids to help us solving the real world problems? And if yes, how?

To answer here you really should see the World Peace Game talk first.

When in the comment section on the World Peace game I commented that the game could not possibly be realistic and be solvable that easily, protested that the kids are too young for that.

Well, Ken Robinson makes a good point that children are born creative (or genius) and are educated out of their creativity. And I remember reading that the number of gifted children is quite high for low age, but then as time goes by (and children age) the percentage drops.

So maybe we could let kids help us in solving the world problems. Not when they grow up, right now!
(I pity the parents of such a kid: -"go to bed at 7, and stop speaking about the UN that is making your mother uncomfortable ;-) ")

It could really be done, by presenting the problem in all its complexity to them, and ask them what would they do.

There is an experimental way of citizen jury where a random sample of the population is invited to hear about a problem. For 2 days they receive information from the experts, and then they vote on what should be done.

An example of what could be done here is to have a group of children, and have them hear from the experts what is the situation. Maybe it would work better if each children would try to take the point of view of one of the real world participant, and maybe to have more than one children per role. A sort of young advisor council.

It would be like the World Peace Game, but more complex, with more children for each role, and only trying to decide a single move.

Of course the long term effect psychological of this experience on them should be considered. It would surely make them mature faster. In an age where people feel they are not fully adult well in their thirties it might have some interesting side effects.

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  • Apr 24 2011: I am now 17, so still a child according to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. I am a member of Kids' Dream (KD), a child-led organisation in Hong Kong working on child rights. And the focus of KD is child participation. In fact, many of the real world problems are closely related to children, such as provety, education, environmental problems, etc. Therefore, we should let kids to contribute to the solutions of the world problems. This is because children are the experts of these problems. They are living with the problems and so, they know what can help them the best. Also, adults need inspirations from children, form the perspectives of a child. They need the views of children to help them to think out of the box. Sometimes, adults' creativity are restricted by the inertial thinking.

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