TED Conversations

Juliette LaMontagne

Founder & Managing Director, Breaker


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What are the advantages/disadvantages of learning models that exist outside of traditional educational institutions?

With the growing number of alternative learning pathways and opportunities to better serve the needs of individual students, what's working best? And what can we learn from the failures and tensions? Where and how have the models in the margins effectively disrupted the status quo?

I'll add to the conversation my current initiative, Breaker - driving alternative learning and social innovation by mobilizing interdisciplinary teams of young creative collaborators to design product solutions to global challenges.

This Live Conversation will start on Feb. 15, 2012, 1:00pm EST/ 10:00am PST


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  • Feb 15 2012: What I find works best (I teach junior college Sociology/Psychology) is challenging the students to rethink common assumptions, and then discussions which integrate course themes and real world events. It seems clear that students learn what they need to learn and what they want to learn...
    ... what they need is to pass the class.
    ... what they want is what feeds their innate curiosity about themselves and the world.

    So I make what they need to pass the class a development and expression of curiosity about the way they think and the way they view the world.
    • Feb 15 2012: Right, challenge the assumptions. If you ask them what they can do with a paper clip, they should be asking you how big is the paper clip and what is it made out of vs. defining 5 or 10 things that can be done based on learned constraints.
      • Feb 15 2012: As a teacher who is just starting off her career with younger children, at what age can we start nurturing this concept of exploration and curiosity in a classroom without misleading or misguiding them?
        • Feb 15 2012: I don't think there is an age that you have to wait for. Explanation and curiosity is what will lead them to be passionate about learning. I would imagine that you personally would need to find the right balance for your situation, but why not nurture as much as you can as often as you can?
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        Feb 15 2012: David - good point - this is divergent thinking isn't it - the chance to explore and create rather than jump through hoops and climb ladders....
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      Feb 15 2012: Very well said. I definitely dig your perspective and methodology.

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