TED Conversations

Sanket Gupta

Design Engineer, Marvell Semiconductor

This conversation is closed.

How can a common man participate in "revolutionizing" education?

Having spoken in TED in 2006 about how schools kill creativity, Sir Ken Robinson returned in 2010 to urge everyone to revolutionize education. He said about how we take a "fast-food" approach to deliver educated products out of the system. However, in order to really use the enormous depths of human talent, we will need to take an "organic" approach to education. We need revolution and not evolution.

So, How do we actually achieve revolution? Are there any concrete examples of schools/ colleges which do not follow the "fast-food" approach? Are there ways in which a common man can participate in "revolutionizing" education?
I am sure this is a question which commonly haunts everyone among us. But, what we lack is a coordinated set of actions to make a change. How do we do it?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Nov 20 2011: Until one does anything different / extraordinary s/he remains common. So common people can revolutionize by doing something revolutionary through her/his participation and become someone uncommon or extraordinary :)
    • thumb
      Nov 21 2011: Agreed. It is we who label ourselves "common". Our efforts alone determine how much "common" or "extraordinary" we are.
      But, by common I meant a student studying in a school; or a person working; or a housewife. How can they contribute to a major change; when they do not have any significant resources or backing from anyone?
      • thumb
        Nov 22 2011: Understand your point.I agree with what Jake Williams wrote above, it actually Commitment that is needed not resource in most cases.

        She was departmental store worker . on way to her work was denied to have a seat on bus she didn't give up so become ROSA PARKS of Civil Rights Movement in US.

        Mohan Das was a lawyer in South Africa, but his commitment to fight back unjust after that fateful train incidence made him Mahatma Gandhi.

        He was university teacher back in 70s in Bangladesh, but his evening walk observation of plight of poor in near by Village made him to do something different using less than 50 USD from his own pocket. Now he is known as Dr. Younus reference of Micro-Credit and won Noble Prize for Peace alongwith his organization Grameen Bank.

        List can go on (sorry couldn't give example from education field but I think in TED you can see Sugata Mitras effort, resource was not big and he was not anyone extraordinary at the begining but defintely now he is)

        In Readers Digest once read about a poor village boy of 6/7 of Bangladesh, selected as something called "Everyday Hero" (if I rightly remember). The event was as belowAs per his usual daily play schedule he was running along the railway track near his village (it's very usual , may sound impossible in country like Singapore , yes talking about kid running on railway track). Suddenly he noticed , the Rail Way Track is dislocated. He knew after sometime a train will be passing. Thinking of the risk he ran back to home, brought a Red Saree of his mother , tying it with a stick he stood beside railway track far ahead of the damaged part. After long wait the train came, driver of train saw someone standing with something RED, so stopped. Got down asked why (there was no Railway station or railway worker nearby) he is doing so. The kid told about the damaged track....

        Life saved, property saved.....how extra-ordinary that KID was ....even if he doesn't achieve anything special in rest of his l
        • thumb
          Nov 23 2011: Thanks for pointing out numerous inspiring examples to follow. These outstanding examples serve to inspire and motivate us by showing us that we "can" do what we really want to do. No resources or backing is really necessary.

          But, perhaps I had framed the question wrongly earlier. Let me take the example of Facebook. Before Facebook, there were ways in which people could have maintained contact with friends via email, phone or sms. But, once Facebook arrived it created a "social" revolution, in the sense, that it was just so easy to be in touch with our friends. What Facebook did was to reduce our "effort" to achieve the same goal: creating and maintaining a social network with people.

          Hence, my question is about how do we achieve that kind of revolution? A revolution in education which is so easy and mass-implementable. Yes, people who really want a change can still do it as seen in Sugata Mitras case, but how do we create something to sweep the mass public into action; into creating an educational revolution?
    • thumb
      Nov 23 2011: Beautifully said. When we try to do good through the unusual we can make a big difference in what ever we do and what ever issue we care about . Look at what SIr Ken Robinson is doing for education as an inspiration for changes you can make even at TED events.
    • thumb
      Dec 10 2011: Mr Solaiman, so good to hear your wise input again! (I've been out of the loop for a while, too many things in my hands these days...)

      "Until one does anything different / extraordinary s/he remains common."

      What I think is great about this is, those that are extraordinary were never motivated by BECOMING different in the first place -they WERE DIFFERENT! They had unusual curiosity, energy, vision, or faith that moved them to try the unthinkable, to go the extra mile regardless of the risks or the reward.
      Their "otherness" was the engine, making a difference was their prize.

      Oh, that we learn not to run for the trophy in this life race that we are in, but for the joy of running itself, and the joy we can bring to others...
      Then we will realize that all the rest will come with it, no needs, no wants...
      Then we will realize that we too were different!
      • thumb
        Dec 12 2011: Ms. Eisner, thanks for your compliment. Just back to reply you, as realized like many other friends of mine I am a total mis-fit here in TED conversation.

        Agree with you fully what you talked about curiosity....then about energy , vision, faith & drive. I pack all these what you said in one word which I call "PASSION"....

        "we learn not to run for the trophy in this life race that we are in , but for the joy of running itself"..... what a beautiful expression of yours it is!!!

        Simply loved it....:)
        • thumb
          Dec 12 2011: "... as realized like many other friends of mine I am a toatl mis-fit here in TED conversation."

          No, no, Mr. Solaiman, you totally belong here...

          Now, the other way around is very possible: your participation in TED may qualify you as a misfit where you live and work, that's almost granted but that's what we were talking about from the begining. You ARE DIFFERENT, that's their gain :-)

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.