Through the Education Lens

What Adults Can Learn From Kids: "Don't Underestimate Our Ability"

CJW, September 26, 2010 1:29 PM

Student Advocate.  Literacy Advocate. Kid Advocate.
And She Is Only Twelve.

This weekend I spoke with a mom who was just seething about an incident during a recent parent-teacher conference.   When told by the math teacher that her 12 year old daughter was not paying attention in class, the mother asked if the teacher had talked to her after class about it to gain more insight or perspective such as - was she bored?  Or, was she lost?   The teacher said, "What would a 12 year old know about why she wasn't paying attention?"   In other words, the teacher made the parent feel like it was an inappropriate request.  After all, her daughter was just a "kid".

So when I came across this TED talk from 12 year old Adora Svitak, I thought not only we will post it, but let's just say I will be sending it personally to the mom and maybe it will make its way to the school.  Sometimes I think we (adults) are too lenient with kids about discipline and comportment, and then we act like taskmasters when it comes to intellectual challenges and freedoms or real person conversations  (talking down to kids like they're all idiots).

As Adora says so well in the tape:  There should be  "reciprocal" learning between students and teachers.  And, "kids need opportunities to lead and succeed". 

Okay, Adora is a prodigy.  Maybe you think she is precocious.  Either line of thinking can dismiss this entire argument but I would wager most parents know there is a lot more going on in kids' heads than we give them credit for . . . and her message is one we all know in our heart of hearts is common sense.

She's right in how kids need and like to be challenged AND can rise to the occasion if we give them the opportunity.   Adora is author of books and blogs with her bio and website link here

Eight minutes, this video moves along at a very quick pace and can be seen below:
Link to TED website here.                                                                    --C.J. Westerberg

Previously published by The Daily Riff 4/10.



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