TED Talk: Rita Pierson – Every kid needs a champion

TED Talk: Rita Pierson – Every kid needs a champion

“One of the things that we never discuss is the value and importance of human connection…No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship…Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.”

This is easier said than done, especially in the context of higher education. How do we build relationships with students who are already so disenchanted with the learning process? They’ve already had 12 years of learning experiences where they may not have been valued, where they may not have felt important. They arrive  in higher education institutions expecting that their job is simply to show up. How can we show them that learning is about more than showing up? Is there room for building relationships in the university classroom?

My own research has identified the significance of connection and of valuing students as important members of the learning experience. And in classes where we’ve started emphasising the learning relationship rather than the content, we’re seeing differences in how students think about learning. When we spend lots of time discussing the why of learning, rather than the what of learning, they’ve resisted at first but have come around to the fact that why something happens is more important than simply knowing that it happens. They’ve come to care about their learning and I believe it’s partly because they’ve come to know that we care about them.

“We are educators. We were born to make a difference.”

Note: this was originally posted at /usr/space.


Published by

Michael Rowe

I'm a physiotherapy lecturer at the University of the Western Cape and have an interest in technology-mediated teaching and learning.

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