Every kid needs a champion

Every kid needs a champion

I’d heard about Rita Pierson’s TED Talk, but I had never listened to it. I decided to watch it this morning and I am so glad I did. Rita reminds you in such a beautiful way that we all need relationships, and you may never know just how much that kid in your class needs you. Be their champion, they may not have another one.

I once taught a memorable class with a wonderful colleague and friend. The kids were hand picked for  us (they hadn’t chosen to study music) and we were to teach them.  We thought of a whole course for them, worked on it, sat them down, explained what we aimed to do, thought we were off to a promising start, asked if anyone had any questions and one student asked, “How am I here?” It was a good question, one we had not anticipated! Telling them they hadn’t been welcome anywhere else was not the answer, and so we stumbled around and came up with a few reasons. I don’t remember exactly, but I know it wasn’t as inspiring as Rita Pierson’s response to her class!

I told all my students, “You were chosen to be


Creativity – do schools kill it?

I’m reading Sir Ken Robinson’s book ‘The Element‘ just now. He was in the process of writing it when he did his first TED Talk – ‘Do schools kill creativity?‘ In this talk he speaks of the two things the hierarchy of our education system is based around: 1) most useful subjects for work and 2) academic ability.

The consequence is that many highly talented, brilliant, creative people think they’re not, because the thing they were good at at school wasn’t valued, or was actually stigmatised.

Sadly, this has been the experience for far too many people. When I was thinking about what to do after high school I was told by my careers advisor not to bother studying music. I was told to choose options like science or engineering because they were accepting a lot of girls into these subjects at that time. I left that interview not knowing what to do, and so my first application to university included courses ranging from statistics to travel and tourism. Thank goodness I realised soon enough that my passion lay in music – I filled in another application form and got a late place to study music.… Read more...

The true role of the educator…

…to cultivate curiosity! We are all naturally curious. Our job as educators is to bring the natural curiosity back out in those (students and teachers) who may have been constantly told to hide it, and those who have for various reasons just forgotten it was there. In this TED Talk, chemistry teacher Ramsey Musallam (@ramusallam) does a great job speaking about this and reminding us that if we can see the world through the eyes of little children there is no limit to what we can learn.

It took a life-threatening condition to jolt chemistry teacher Ramsey Musallam out of ten years of “pseudo-teaching” to understand the true role of the educator: to cultivate curiosity. In a fun and personal talk, Musallam gives 3 rules to spark imagination and learning, and get students excited about how the world works.


How to escape education’s death valley

Sir Ken Robinson speaks at TED Talks Education in April 2013 outlining three principles crucial for the human mind to flourish. Along the way he tells us that ‘human life is inherently creative’ and that ‘curiosity is the engine of achievement’. He also talks about his move to America (sorry, Los Angeles!) 12 years ago.

Creativity, not compliance. Inspiring and encouraging.

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