Blog prompt: How are you working to make the world a better place by creating more thoughtful, compassionate, creative, and skilled individuals?
This week is bittersweet, as two amazing experiences come to an end – participating in IMMOOC and organizing a TEDxYouth event. As I reflect on the TEDx talks presented by 15 phenomenal students, from Grade 3-10, I realize there were some pretty important lessons shared by these young presenters – just another example of why we should give students a voice!
The biggest lesson I learned from advising and supporting these students is to simply be a “guide on the side” and let them run with it! When given a voice and choice in their topic, these students demonstrated that they have a lot of “ideas worth spreading!”
Here are the some of the important lessons they taught me:
Don’t help others until you listen to how they want to be helped. These wise words were from a 10th grader, speaking about how taking compassionate action begins with listening. As an educator, I shouldn’t assume that I know what’s best for every student or teacher; rather, I should listen to how I can best support them in their own learning journey.
Create opportunities. This tip came from a 3rd grader (who also happens to be my daughter!) speaking about how she looks for any opportunity she can to showcase her artwork. My goal is to create a learning environment where students and teachers can discover their own opportunities and make the most of them – whether it’s helping them connect with an expert, publish an article to a blog, or just try something new.
Limit your focus. A 9th grade student (my son!) shared how he achieves more goals as a swimmer, when he focuses on less – “Instead of focusing on all the things you could do, focus on the one thing you should do. Understand that not everything matters equally – so focus on what matters the most.” When working with students and teachers, I need to ensure that I stay focused on matters most to them.
We have the key. This insightful talk from a 6th grader focused on how the internet is a key that can unlock any door. But, many people don’t use it to the fullest potential. As educators, we need to help students unlock doors to the future, and show them how they can use the power of technology to be more thoughtful, compassionate, creative, and skilled individuals.
Both IMMOOC and the TEDxYouth event made it clear that we need to create more authentic learning experiences – and give learners the opportunity to have choice and share their voice!