Rodrigo P. Feliciano

Knights of Columbus


This conversation is closed.

Describe the K-12 school of your dreams. How would you build it? Imagine your children and grandchildren attending this school.

"Perhaps you might want to start a separate conversation regarding what an ideal educational system might look like so I and others could contribute our thoughts under that topic? But why limit it to K-8? Why not K-12 while we're at it?"

Carl Karasti, TED Conversations contributor

Closing Statement from Rodrigo P. Feliciano

Our definition of a dream school is as unique as each one of us. Leaders alone cannot build a dream school. School administrators and teachers alone cannot build a dream school. Parents alone cannot build a dream school. Students alone cannot build a dream school. Every member of the community making a positive contribution may build a good school.

What will happen if a good student with supportive parents attends a good school? What will happen if an unmotivated student attends a good school? What will happen if an unmotivated student with uninvolved parents attends a bad school?

Perhaps a dream school is just that, a dream. History shows that there are always individuals who are willing to work tirelessly to achieve their dreams and contribute for the common good, whether they attended a good school or a bad school or, whether they graduated from college or not.

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    Apr 15 2014: A dream school would be limitless supplies of teaching tools and endless amount of funds to meet each students individual learning styles. Enough learning assistants that could support every student. This would allow for students to engage in their learning by using their interest as a basis. A great quote I heard, if students aren't learning the way we teach, maybe we should teach they way they learn. When you create an educational setting that is student driven and allows the student to take responsibility to learn about what interests them, your outcome will be far more superior than an educational setting where expectations are high and support uninteresting learning topics.
    I still believe students need to learn the basics of reading, writing, and math but if you find a way to teach those simple topics combined with the students interest, you will have motivated learners. The school would be designed so that learning can be student focused based on age and ability. Field trips would be an everyday event so that theory could be practiced in real life situations.
    I currently teach in a PYP/IB school where learning is student focused. I wish we could be more individualized with self propelled inquiry but I will say that I only wish I was taught in a classroom and at a school that I am currently teaching in. Not only do students learn but I find so do I!
    Start with a guiding question that interests a student (they can create their own if not you as the teacher can always support that) See what they are interested in finding out. As the teacher guide them with other questions that can help create more interest into the topic. Create a few manageable goals for them to complete during their inquiry. Attainable goals are important. Motivation is key. Once the student is motivated to learn something all you need to do as the teacher is supply the tools for learning. Starting this at a young age teaches self motivation and is crucial to creating life long learning.
    • Apr 15 2014: Your dream school is more less like my dream school. I would like add some points , the dreams school should be such that it helps the student to explore and discover their natural gifts and resources which the nature has gifted them rather than forcing them to dump information and facts from outside and make them as warehouse or data center.
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        Apr 15 2014: Exactly! Why not allow the student to grow and excel at what they are good at! The things about school I remember most are the times I was allowed to use my skills to shine. Those where my favorite times and where I learned a lot. Just think if that happened all the time for students. Learning is a part of life and students should learn basics but those basics can be implemented through educational self stimulated experiences and build upon as time goes on.
    • Apr 15 2014: Kimberly

      I think too many people think that money can solve everything - Your 1st 2 sentences imply that and they do not match the conclusion of the 3rd.
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        Apr 15 2014: In order to allow self exploration, you need to resources to do so.
        Last time I checked this is not a money free world, so to provide students with proper resources to support their guiding questions and promote hands on learning would mean I need to provide them with the proper educational tools to allow self inquiry.
        Field trips and self exploration, if provided by a school would need to be funded by a school, hence the need for funds. Please do not put words in my mouth, as I NEVER stated money solves everything. I do not believe that and never have. However, I do believe that this is a question of "Dream School" where my opinion of having funds to support learning is validated through years of teaching experience. My student focused classroom is well equipped because of funds provided to me by the school I teach at. Without these tools and funds my students would not be able to get the same hands on experience. And while I have a well equipped classroom, we also use nature and many other resources from our world that is "free" Resources enrich learning experiences.
        For example: If one of my students wanted to learn how make a cake. The inquiry process allows the student to share what they think they know, investigate, think about what they learned and share it with others, then reflect on the process and act. So if the student wants to learn how to make a cake, should I just sit their and talk to him/her or would the learning experience be enriched by actually going out buying the ingredients, preparing and making the cake then sharing what they learned with others and gaining valuable life learning experiences? To buy the cake and have the tools to do this wonderful learning experience would cost money. Case and point in order to educate sometimes you need money. *Side note some of my students don't speak English, so could you imagine me just sitting there and talking to them. I am sure they would learn a lot. So yes my whole statement goes hand in hand.
        • Apr 15 2014: No - money helps and makes it easier but it is not necessary. Given drive, determination, intelligence many succeed with a lot less money than we are spending today.

          Carnegie gave a great gift to the English speaking world by establishing so many great libraries which have helped so many students. Today's libraries are supported by the communities and are still a great resource which so many ignore.
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    Apr 14 2014: Interesting question!

    I think that inspiring passion for life long learning is what schools need to accomplish.

    easy right!!

    To accomplish this schools would need to move from the factory mentality to individual learning with heavy parental involvement. It would take a generation to really se the change but it would be worth it!
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      Apr 15 2014: David,

      I. How can a young person develop a passion for life-long learning? What can the adults in a young person's life do to inspire a child to pursue life-long learning?

      II. How can we move from factory or assembly line schooling to individualized learning? What specific recommendations can you make to achieve this?

      "Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow." Anthony J. D'Angelo
    • Apr 15 2014: You have revealed the truth about Factory Mentality . Where the focus is on just 5 to 10 students out of the 40 students in a class.
  • Apr 15 2014: I believe the internet holds the key to education.. all the information, all the people, all the culture assessable all the time to all the people. Balance this with time in nature where the ultimate education resides. Virtually take the student right to the professionals who are making a living doing what they know and phasing apprenticeships right into real jobs. Education and health should be a right not a privilege.
  • Apr 15 2014: Rodrigo,

    Like many of the people who have responded, I believe strongly in individual student programs. Too many classes are taught supposedly to the mid-range of the ability of the class.

    1. retrain teachers to be mentors instead of lecturers
    2. create hot lines, classes, to help parents to be mentors
    3. even in k, allow the students freedom to explore
    4. more discussions where students can express themselves
  • Apr 15 2014: We will not build it, we will program a better education system. A teacher is far more limited than a the interconnected mass of teachers/people to assist with the understanding of the information that people want or need to learn. Even further we could use all the teachers/people to organize a program that is able to present necessary information in any method that a person can best understand, and support the person trying to understand the topic. A single teacher or group of teachers may not be able to consistently adapt to every students capabilities. A program that is able to give information in any method that a student may naturally comprehend without the inconsistency's of teachers methods and emotions would provide equal education. A well organized program can be far more effective than many teachers and provide unbiased attention and education to all who are allowed to use it.
    A program this size will take a very long time to get just right but i believe something that matches the current education method could be met very quickly if each country comes together to take steps toward an organized education. This program does not mean that teachers would be gone, it would provide a more efficient education, meaning the students could more quickly reach the level of the teacher. Teachers and people could focus on creating new topics, revising current topics, and helping students if necessary.
    In my dreams k-12 does not exist, just information provided at the most appropriate times or when desired.
    This cannot happen if the education system continues to make direct profits off of students who have nothing to invest but their time. And if businesses only want slaves then education is useless.
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    Apr 15 2014: Something that could and should be done right away for the class rooms would be to have stand-up desk, full-spectrum lighting and plants.

    For a reasonable cost student's mental and physical health could be significantly improved.
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    Apr 15 2014: It would be a School/MOOC hybrid, and the MOOC would be giving by teachers that are local, national, and international. (And available to everyone internationally)

    Every town, city and village would have local history classes available to anyone in the world, every top person in their field could create a class course, and people/kids could be learning how to think instead of just what to think.

    also schools would be more interactive labs, instead of lecture halls.
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    Apr 15 2014: It would be more a home not a school.
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    Apr 15 2014: Even Carnegie Libraries are funded by private and public funding. He provided the seed money to start the libraries but they continue to need ongoing resources. So it took money and takes money to run a library. Do you think all those people working there do it for free? Don't forget you have to pay a fee if you return your book late. Point being, the money has to come from someone/somewhere. All the"free" literature you read, came from someone paying for them.
    Everybody has a right to their opinion. All the things you stated, I agree with. Money does make things easier. Drive, determination, and intelligence are great tools to have to help educate yourself but you still need to learn somewhere.
    I also agree the cost of education in some places are expensive but as people continue to learn, the need for a promising education has become a competitive playing field. It's sad because I would love everyone to receive a "free education" but even a "free education" comes from someone's money.
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    Apr 15 2014: "I think we are lying to children and families when we tell children that they are meeting standards and, in fact, they are woefully unprepared to be successful in high school and have almost no chance of going to a good university and being successful." Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education