Site Leader at Matthew Whaley Elementary School
Here are some of the brief insights I have gained from watching these short and favorite Ted Talks.
Geoffrey Canada: Our failing schools. Enough is enough!
Geoffrey Canada is a really awesome speaker who keeps your attention throughout his talk. He emphasizes the millions of students who are lost through an education system that has continually failed us. Canada brings up the thought-provoking question of why innovations have not been introduced into our education system. We’ve maintained the same structure of an education system even though year after year research surfaces detailing the ways in which it has failed our students. One point he stresses is that students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds lose ground over the summertime, often returning to school in the fall farther behind then when they left. This is especially relevant as we begin another school year, keeping in mind that some students may be entering the classroom with setbacks. He speaks with a tone of urgency in the need of transforming the business model that is our current education system.
Linda Cliatt-Wayman: How to fix a broken school? Lead fearlessly, love hard
Linda Cliatt-Wayman discusses her experience of becoming a principal at Strawberry Mansion High School, a school labeled as low performing. She highlights the struggles she faced in a school with a culture of violence and dropouts. Linda did not let what seemed like an impossible feat of making Strawberry Mansion a better school hold her back from doing everything she could to give her students the best education. Even the little things can completely change the atmosphere of a school, like decorating the bulletin boards with bright colors and positive messages. What she found to be most effective was having students in small group lessons in order to meet individual needs. The results were amazing. Many of the students had major improvements in their grades and school attendance. My favorite slogan Linda mentions is how she tells the students every morning “If nobody has told you they love you today, remember I do.”
Although at times the problems with our education system may seem immense and the solutions unfeasible, it begins with a single classroom. This semester you have the opportunity to make a positive impact, to be the difference in a student’s life, and to experience firsthand the importance of a good education. If we can help just one student love to learn again, then all our efforts have been worthwhile.