Friday, March 5, 2010

Infectious Passion

Here is a TEDtalk with Kiran Bir Sethi where she discusses how people can be infected with a kind of passion for anything.

What she describes is the importance of children playing an active role in their education. No longer can we afford to 'school' children in school. We have to move beyond the sit-get-spit and forget kind of schooling.

How much must you hate your job if you only ever do it when you are paid to? And how much must students hate school if they only ever do it when they are at school? Kiran Bir Sethi is so right when she speaks about the need to blur the lines between school and life. That education is about imbedding learning into real life.

When I share this sentiment with others, I inevitably find the pessimists and the cynics who will say this is all utopian or idealistic, and that the system is far bigger and more powerful than I could imagine.


But I echo Kiran Bir Sethi when she says - If not us, then who? If not now, then when?

Kiran Bir Sethi: TEDIndia 2009


  1. Very inspiring. I couldn't agree with you more. What was ever accomplished by listening to pessimists anyway? Thanks for sharing.

  2. I definitely understand where you're coming from! When I'm talking about my ideas with others, I hear things like:

    "That's just not possible."
    "That's not the way it works."
    "That's simply not practical."

    And even when I show them that what they consider impossible, is not only possible, but already being done and is wildly successful, then what do I get? More often than not, an uncomfortable shrug and an attempt to change the subject.

    I think there are a lot of educators who are very deliberately in denial, because they know the system is incredibly screwed up, yet they do nothing to change it. The only way they stay sane is by thinking there's nothing they CAN do. The pessimists and cynics encourage us to give up hope, because every time we succeed, they need to find new excuses for inaction.

    I think educators need to be infected with the "I can" bug before it'll really start spreading among students.

    To be fair to educators though, I think we have a really tough job that most don't get adequate support for or time to improve. We're relatively isolated in our classrooms and even after sharing new ideas, most of us fall back on old, familiar scripts that students and parents will approve of (because it's also what they're familiar with), instead of risking failure with something we've never done before. Teachers are much like performers - before trying out a new act, we need a lot of practice to get it right. Unlike many performers though, every practice is also a live show.


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