Shukla Bose: Teaching One Child At A Time
by Danya Croft
Teaching One Child At A Time, Shukla Bose explains the importance of focusing on one child at a time. It is important for us to stop getting bogged down in numbers when we see the many children that need our assistance. Instead, we should focus our energy on the smaller picture and know that eventually it will have an affect on the bigger one. She explains that when she first began researching the education of the poor, she and a few friends toured the slums of India and came across 200 million children who were not currently in an education program. She couldn't believe that so many children were going uneducated and wondered how she could make a difference in their lives. She spoke of starting the school Parikrma Humanity Foundation so that she could focus on treating each child as an individual and give them an education that would help them better their futures. She said that the myth that Indian parents of children in the slums do not care about education and that they simply want to use their children to help with work is complete hogwash. In fact, she said that these parents make up most of the support staff at the school which is more parental participation than schools of privilege experience. At first, these parents had to sign their names using their thumbprint because they were unable to sign their own name, but are now able to because their children have taught them. Shukla said, "It is more important to create an environment of learning, of inquiry, and of exploration because that is true education." She believes that the children are more confident in the things they do because they feel empowered. We need to teach one child at a time and stop worrying about the numbers.
Shukla is absolutely correct in that we can get overwhelmed when we start looking at the number of students we will come in contact with over the period of a year. However, the feelings of being overwhelmed can lessen when we can take the time to treat each student as an individual. We need to pay attention to the small changes that we will be partially responsible for so that it can inspire us to continue forward. The important thing to remember is that we need to provide each student with an environment that will promote free and abstract thinking, communication and collaboration with others, and a driving question that will engage and encourage them to seek action.
Shane Koyczan: To This Day… for the bullied and beautiful
by Carla Young
To This Day…for the bullied and beautiful, Shane Koyczan gives an inspiring performance of the poem he wrote. His poem introduces a message to the audience that expresses the feelings of many students that seem to go unnoticed only too often. He lyrically expresses that many students, much like himself, feel as if they are not being taught in school to embrace what they want to be “when they grow up.” Instead, their parents, peers, and even teachers are constantly telling them that they need to be someone or something else. This can cause children to not only act out in school, but also their motivation to decline. Students need to be inspired and constantly encouraged to follow their dream. It is our jobs as teachers to do just that while also helping guide them in the right direction towards the steps necessary for them to achieve those dreams. Koyczan’s words brought me back to Sir Ken Robinson’s points made in the video, How to Escape Education’s Death Valley. Every student is different and may not desire to be a doctor or a lawyer. We must teach our students based on their individual learning needs. Every student is unique in the way they learn and what interests them. Each student’s dreams or aspirations are unique.
Shane Koyczan has put a message out there I believe everyone should hear. Instead of teaching our students how they can “better” themselves or change what they aspire to be, we should inspire them to keep working toward their goal. Students need encouragement and inspiration to get the reassurance they need to know that what they are and aspire to be in the future is their choice. Koyczan made a valid point in his poem, how can a student have confidence and feel like they are doing right when they are constantly being told they are wrong? We must remember that we are here to guide them, educate them, and always inspire them, but never to change them.
Alison Gopnik: What do babies think?
What do babies think?, Alison Gopnik catches her audience’s attention by giving an example of how a baby’s train of thought might work. As she explains the experiment, she states how the babies are persuaded and how their different ages play a factor in this experiment. This then poses the questions of “Why do children learn so much” and “How do they learn so much?” Well, like animals, babies go through learning phases which include the transitions from dependence to independence. In other words, it shows us how we as a species influence our own educational patterns. She then states that like scientists, children learn things by a series of hypothesis and investigation (testing). Babies are more willing to test out new things, because they have not yet experienced their limitations. Gopnik states that children are perhaps more conscious than adults, because as adults we tend to focus on what is important as opposed to other supporting details. In contrast, children do not focus on one thing but many things. They have a wider range of curiosity and are constantly learning. We definitely agree with Gopnik in that, we as adults should constantly try to learn more and influence each other in a more positive way. A wider range of interest can allow us as a species to advance and break old habits that we commonly use in education and everyday life. Everyone should consider themselves to be lifelong learners, but as adults, we are more capable of influencing those around us. Constantly striving to inspire your peers and those around you has the ability to set off a chain reaction. If you can inspire one person to broaden their horizons and look outside of the educational norm, then the possibilities are endless.