TEDxHongKong Thoughts

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The following post is cross posted from Expat Teacher Man


“There is no great genius without a mixture of madness.”

Aristotle

I  attended TEDxHongKongED  event to “exchange ideas, discuss thoughts and ask questions.” I listened to some influential people speak about learning and the power of discovery. Below is a series of questions that I wrote in my notebook during the course of the day.

Parents

Why do you send your kids to school each day? We haven’t always taught children in a classroom setting…why do we now? Are you satisfied with your child’s academic growth? Is the classroom setting the best avenue for learning? Can we do better? Does sending your kid to school each day makes economic and intellectual sense? Do your kids complain of boredom? Is educational technology used often and appropriately in your child’s classroom? Is your school doing what is right for your child? Is your school doing what is right for the future of the planet? Does your school preach classroom management over individuality? Are you aware that nearly 20% of American students suffer from some sort of mental disorder? (Merikangas KR, etal. 2010)

Teachers

How do you feel about your career path? Does the digital age frighten you? Is this possibly the golden age of teaching or will only the best, brightest and luckiest be well compensated? Are schools truly future focused?  Do teachers develop a curriculum that above all else, keeps them employed? Why do you still teach inside a classroom setting? Can you effectively reach more children online? Could you be better compensated online? Do we let kids truly discover? Or rather, do we set them up to discover what we consider is important? Do we censor too much? Is the school day too long? Do we pay enough attention to physical fitness and the arts? Do your students look bored? Do your kids complain of bullying? Do your kids receive individualized and proper services? What percentage of your students need counseling support?

Administrators

Do you treat all with fairness, dignity and respect? Do you offer multiple ways for student learning? Do you trust your staff? Are you effective in conflict resolution? Are families involved in improving curriculum? Do you support continuous improvement? Are you using your time wisely? Do you have effective communication skills? Are you willing to hear bad news? Do you inspire your staff to do great work? Are you socially innovative? Is creativity a part of your school’s mission? Do your students create music? Do you allow students to discover mathematics? Do you offer an environment where students can learn from failure?

TEDxHongKongED was most definitely time well spent. I look forward to the speeches being uploaded so that I can share them with my professional learning network.

 Reference:

Merikangas KR, He J, Burstein M, Swanson SA, Avenevoli S, Cui L, Benjet C, Georgiades K, Swendsen J. Lifetime prevalence of mental disorders in U.S. adolescents: Results from the National Comorbidity Study-Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A). Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 2010 Oct. 49(10):980-989.

 

About Barry Mernin

Barry Mernin is a twenty-three year veteran elementary educator. He has spent the past ten years teaching in Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong. His professional mission statement is: “ I will provide a wholesome and upbeat environment for any and all students to succeed. I will teach students to learn to be content. I will demand that students care for the world around them as well as themselves. I will remember what it is like to be a child.”
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