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: I believe that is vital to introduce in the education system new tools, new ways to teach, but I believe that homeschooling is not the answer. Kids need to socialize, to interact with other people other than their parents, How do you solve this?
    • Feb 15 2012: Homeschoolers do socialize. They have other homeschoolers in homeschool groups, but also participate in things like Scouting, church and community groups, art lessons, music lessons, community theater, etc. There are plenty of opportunities! This also means that the child can find people with similar interests. Help the child find community interest groups (like garden clubs, for instance) and they will have a varied peer group of people with all levels of knowledge and of all ages. This is a very healthy social interaction, and may also lead the child to find mentor figures in subject areas where the parent has less expertise.
    • Feb 15 2012: Kids can find socialization options is many places, Scouts, 4-H, club or Y sports, church, and neighborhood gatherings. Just because they do not go to a brick and mortar school does not mean that you keep them in a bubble away from all other students and adults.
    • Feb 15 2012: As someone who was homeschooled for 14 years I never ran into a problem with socialization. It's actually pretty funny to me that it's still an argument against homeschooling. I think that most home schooling parents feel a lot of pressure to insure that their children are social and have opportunities to play sports, have group outings, etc. The socialization argument was one of the most popular positions against homeschooling back when I was first starting in 1986! And from what I've seen in the NYT and elsewhere, it's still the main argument. Sure there are homeschooled kids that are awkward, but there are also public schooled kids that are awkward. Letting a few ill-adjusted products define this educational method is about as fair as allowing drug-addicted teens to stand as the model products of the public school system. All systems have flaws but I think they could each learn from one another and become stronger.

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