TED Conversations

Taylor Kendal

Teaching with Primary Sources

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How do we reform education?

I recently witnessed a TEDx event in Colorado and heard Ramona Pierson discuss her philosophy on education - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5aHL2qd_08.

She believes there's an equation (ok, actually an algorithm) that can be used to prescribe a unique education path for every student. This idea comes in the wake of a near nationwide adoption of the Common Core Standards. Where do the resources in the United States currently need to be focused to assure positive progress in education?


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  • Sep 13 2011: I think it's impossible to reform education without reforming the way we view education. Our inability to resist "ranking" or "grading" ourselves against other students and tests hinders greatly our ability to truly and freely learn. Consistently comparing people to people denies the fact the we all learn incredibly different and view each lesson taught in the classroom in a completely different way. Until we each view ourselves as individual learners unable to be compared to others we cannot reform our education system, which is solely based on your ability to learn the way the teacher would prefer you to learn.
    • Sep 13 2011: Do you believe in the value of competition? This does not require measuring worth against another individual but there must be a standard of excellence to drive us to go beyond what is mediocre. The day we began giving everyone a trophy for simply suiting up is the day we started to devalue the fruit of hard work and determination. As a parent I try to instill a sense of competative spirit in my children, one that holds firm to honor, fairness, and teamwork. I also prepare them to risk failure and accept it as a natural event. This encourages them to reflect on where they can improve, develop a plan to overcome their shortcomings if possible, and try again.
      • Sep 13 2011: I agree with you and I'm an ex-college athlete and extremely competitive myself. I think it is necessary to compete and it does allow us to push each other to their best potential so to speak but I don't think a letter grade system is the best way to get the youth to compete. I think what I really meant by my first comment is that instead of competing against all students we should be competing against those with the same interests, fields of knowledge, and "career paths" if you want to call it that. I think, just as medicine is becoming extremely specific to the patient and circumstances, education should be specific and designed to single student cases. Rather than having students lumped into bell curves and letter grades we should get to know students individually and what moves them to compete with themselves and strive for excellence without putting them against others that learn differently or want to learn different things.

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