Educators around the world face the same dilemma of how to renovate public educational systems without putting undue strain on school budgets, and some TED Talks about education give great ideas of how to do this effectively.
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The issue of unproductive public educational environments is so widespread that enrollment in private schools is on the rise nearly everywhere. Also, many parents decide to educate their children at home when they investigate the cost of private school education for multiple children.
Here are five TED Talks that discuss real solutions to the problems faced by the world’s public schools.
#1 How to Fix a Broken Education System Without Any More Money
Seema Bansal, who is a senior leader at Boston Consulting Group, has a passion for education and social justice. She has a background in engineering and business management, and she was recently tapped to lead a group of consultants who would attempt to revamp an Indian state’s ailing education system. Bansal and her team were able to systematically get to the root causes of low performance at Haryana’s 15,000 public schools. The team introduced teachers to experiential learning concepts so that children at the state-run schools could learn by doing activities instead of through memorization. Also, principals and teachers who work within the Haryana school district now use free communication platforms like short message service or SMS and WhatsApp to collaborate among their groups in real time. As a result, Haryana’s teachers spend more of their time in classrooms teaching, school children experience higher levels of engaged learning and parents see improvements in academic performance.
#2 How to Escape Education’s Death Valley
Ken Robinson is a transplant education advocate from Great Britain who recognizes problems within the American public education system and provides insights that bring hope to educators and school children. In this TED Talks session, Robinson notes that the culture in today’s classrooms stifle individualism, curiosity and creativity and these are the attributes that produce healthy learning environments. He mentioned that teachers should be given greater latitude to facilitate learning for individuals in their classes. Robinson noted that nothing grows in Death Valley, California due to a lack of rainfall. Several years ago, Death Valley received a generous amount of rain in a short time period, and the valley blossomed. Robinson pointed out that given the right classroom conditions, America’s dormant public education system can blossom too just as Death Valley did after the rain.
#3 What do Babies Think?
Alison Gopnik is a psychology professor at the University of California at Berkley who has done some interesting research about the cognitive abilities of babies and children. She found that 18 month old babies can determine the wants and needs of others and seek to help others achieve those needs. She goes on to theorize that babies naturally conduct rudimentary statistics as they generate hypotheses and test them to figure out the world in which they live. Her research confirms the importance of effective early childhood education activities to help babies’ brains to develop properly.
#4 Turning Trash into Toys for Learning
Arvind Gupta is an engineer turned toymaker who couples recycling with experiential learning for school children. He consults with education organizations to show students how to create toys or gadgets that demonstrate principles of science, mathematics and engineering from free or inexpensive items. Many of the school children would have trouble understanding the science-based principles without performing fun, hands-on activities like building Gupta’s toys.
#5 Education Innovation in the Slums
Finland is known as having some of the most effective educational systems in the world, but the London-based education researcher Charles Leadbeater’s assignment took him to unorthodox places to identify innovations in education. The slums of Brazil, Kenya and India provided interesting examples of how technology is being used to make learning enjoyable and more accessible to children everywhere. Community computers and especially mobile phones are being used by children in these regions to learn nearly every subject. Children are being exposed to peer-to-peer learning opportunities with others around the globe as well as challenging adaptive educational software tools which are closing the gap in educational disparities among the world’s populations.
A positive trend in the field of education is for teachers to set aside cookie-cutter educational techniques that are based on theory and introduce more experiential learning opportunities into the classrooms. According to many of the TED Talks About Education, successful educational systems present broad-based curricula that encourage curiosity and creativity in students and that adapt to individual learning needs.