TED Conversations

Therese Jilek

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What is or will be the change agent for the educational system?

Trying to figure something out.
The world has changed (Disrupting Class) and it is said that education should change as well.
There are many people speaking to the topic, such as Dr. Ken Robinson and MindShift.
There are innovative ideas that facilitate transformation as witnessed with the introduction of Facebook and the iPhone to the point that the past way of living will never be the same again.
There are people speaking to what needs to change (21st Century Skills Framework).
All you have to do is search "education" on TED or You Tube to listen..
States are attempting to cause change (such as take away collective bargaining of unions or implement performance pay)
There are glimpses and pockets of new ideas that are a testament to change (The Third Teacher and Edutopia, The Horizon Report) that include design, game-based learning and mobile computing.

However, I have not seen anything other than traditional means to get there.

I've been thinking about an idea and I'd like to hear from the world about what they think will or could be the change agent for the educational system.

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    Mar 16 2011: It would be nice if Superman really did come and fix education. However, I think that it will take a combination of educators, unions that are willing to change and open-minded politicians to really make an impact in the United States. As an American, I feel that there is a lot that we can take from established and effective education systems worldwide, although many are reluctant to do so.

    I went to great private schools, mediocre public schools and am currently home-schooled. I would recommend to others expreinces like this that can broaden your horizons (pardon the cliche). If students were encouraged to find their own way, to explore the world and to value reasoning over facts, the world would be a better place.
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    Mar 2 2011: I would like the first step to be educating people that it isn't in their best interest to rely on the government to fix this issue. Government fixes become never ending money streams for lobbyists and bureaucrats alike, e.g. No Child Left Behind. The more years I spend on this earth and watch president after president promise the moon and stars to the education system, the more I'm convinced the federal government has no right to be steering the ship.

    My wife and I have made the difficult financial decision to home-school our two children. We refuse to let them be indoctrinated into the world of learning how to pass a standardized test. Our children are gauged continuously on what interests them, and a plan is put into place to feed this interest with meaningful experiences and learning opportunities. Why is it our public education system cannot be modeled in a similar fashion?
  • Feb 21 2011: If managers in business knew enough to improve education, capitalism would be perfect.

    In late modernity the collocation ''enablement and empowerment'' means: 'Jump through hoops for years and years and then we'll give you a job'.

    We need to reverse the sequence: Empowerment becomes the precursor of enablement. The key to enable an individual is to first empower that individual.

    The radical change required in schools comprises, over a period of time, the full empowerment of students.
    In other words, the democratization of schools.

    It is not parents, or managers or politicians or elected specialists or appointed specialists who should be running schools. It is the students.

    Late moderns fear the unpredictable and view all change leading to the unpredictable as suspect. The era of predictability has passed. The era of top-down management is passing. Time to democratize schools.
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      Feb 21 2011: But at what age should pupils be considered to be the appropriate age to know what is best for them? although I agree that change is necessary, a full democracy may not be the best way. There is an education system in Sweden (and some other countries) that is called "Folk High school" and its only for adults and it focuses on the key to being curios throughout your life "lifelong learning" is its motto.
      The democratic level at these schools vary individually but i went to one that had a very high level of democracy and I can honestly say that a lot of time it resulted in nothing.

      To not have people with experience running a place and instead letting kids remake the same mistakes over and over again may not be a good way.
      Still, students should be able to affect their situation more then they can today.