TED Talks for Transformation: Rita Pierson

This month I seek to provide inspiration for transformation by paying homage to some of the most impactful TED Talks available, related to education.  Success will be gained if more educators and campus/district administrators are drawn to not only watching the TED Talks mentioned, but also sharing them with others through conversations rooted in the Visioning work.

First, Rita Pierson brings us Every Kid Needs a Champion.

Ms. Pierson quotes Dr. Stephen Covey with “seeking first to understand.”  This embodies the premise: IIc. Learning standards should embrace development of the whole person to build students’ capacity to shape their own destiny as individuals and as contributing members of society.   We consider utilizing varied means for students to demonstrate understanding.  In this way, we seek to understand our students and provide them choice in the classroom because we know our students are not the same and do not have the same needs.

She also poses the profound question, “How powerful would our world be if we had kids who are not afraid to take risks, not afraid to think?”  This question should bring to mind this premise: II.l Standards should result in all students being committed and equipped to be competent lifetime learners, well-prepared for further formal education and to pursue multiple careers.  Our work to create relevant learning experiences organized into a curriculum with authentic tasks is a big step toward preparing our students for a lifetime of learning.  This, coupled with a safe environment to take academic risks, is an investment into the lives of our students as learners.

Ms. Pierson’s story that every child needs a champion wraps up with a threefold description of a champion for children:

  • an adult who will never give up on them
  • one who understands the power of connections
  • and someone who insists that they become the best that they can possibly be

This description of a champion connects to this premise:  II.k When competent, caring teachers provide properly designed learning experiences in inspiring social environments, all students will engage and can meet or exceed a reasonable variance to the standards.  Ms. Pierson emphasizes relationships throughout her short talk and that is not to be overlooked.  Educators have an opportunity to build relationships with students, launching them into successful learning regardless of the current status of their academic knowledge.  Learning can occur when a kid has a champion.

Directly related are the following Considerations for Instructional Practices embedded within A Framework for Vision-Driven Instruction and Leadership:

  • Consideration 1: How does my lesson design foster a safe environment in which students are willing to take risks and engage in challenging curriculum?
  • Consideration 2: How do I evaluate how well students respond to intended meaningful, challenging learning opportunities?
  • Consideration 3: What data are used to determine what support and scaffolds are necessary?
  • Consideration 4: How does my lesson design allow for student collaboration and problem solving?
  • Consideration 5: How am I monitoring individual student progress?

I encourage you to watch (or re-watch) Rita Pierson’s TED Talk and talk to someone about it.  Ask questions.  Challenge your thinking.

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