5 TED Talks that will help you understand learning

by Parent Co. April 02, 2015

The research is clear. Children learn best in environments that value relationships, curiosity, creativity, making mistakes, reflection, and personalized learning. Every parent should see these five TED Talks on learning by these dynamic and humorous speakers.

How to Escape Education’s Death Valley by Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson is a leader in developing creativity, innovation, and human resources in education and business. He works with government and education systems in Europe, Asia, and North America. Robinson says there are three principles schools need to adopt in order to improve and meet the needs of all students:
  1. Human beings are naturally different and diverse.
  2. Curiosity is the engine of achievement.
  3. Human life is inherently creative.
Robinson reminds us in this humorous and provoking TED Talk that the current American education system is a “human system involving people who want to learn, and people who don’t want to learn.” We need more parents and educators to advocate for a system where all people want to learn.

3 Rules to Spark Learning by Ramsey Musallam

Ramsey Musallam is a chemistry teacher and father of two young daughters. A life-threatening health scare a few years ago led Musallam to rethink his teaching practice and the purpose of learning. Musallam offers three rules to spark learning in children inspired by one of his doctors:
  1. Encourage curiosity and asking hard questions.
  2. Embrace the messy and inevitable process of trial and error.
  3. Reflect intensely to gather information needed to design and revise.
He asks educators and parents to “leave behind the simple role as disseminators of content and embrace a new paradigm as cultivators of curiosity and inquiry” in order to bring more meaning to learning.

The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain

Susan Cain is the author of the bestselling book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Cain discusses the challenge that introverts face as schools and workplaces shift to spaces designed mostly for extroverts and for extroverts’ need for lots of stimulation. Research points to the fact that some of the most productive and creative people “have a serious streak of introversion in them.” Cain calls for a better balance in education and work spaces, where introverts aren't seen as outliers.

Every Kid Needs a Champion by Rita Pierson

Rita Pierson is an educator with over 40 years of teaching experience. She discusses the value and importance of human connection in schools in this humorous and moving talk. “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like,” says Pierson, who believes you can’t underestimate the power of relationships between teachers and students.

The Puzzle of Motivation by Daniel Pink

Daniel Pink is the bestselling author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Pink shares powerful research in his talk that shows that intrinsic motivation matters more than extrinsic motivation. People are intrinsically motivated by three factors:
  1. Autonomy: the urge to direct our own lives.
  2. Mastery: the desire to get better and better at something that matters.
  3. Purpose: the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.
Pink’s talk focuses on business, but the implications can also be applied to education and learning. What would happen in a classroom where students had more autonomy, mastery, and purpose? What if schools used less “carrot and stick” extrinsic rewards and switched to investing in intrinsically motivated students?


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