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Thanks for your post on leading from behind. I especially appreciated your question.

How do we create our own language that pushes back against those who seek to move us away from talking about children?

I hope I did justice to this to this question last night when I had the opportunity to participate in a wonderfully democratic, collective, and positive event. Instead of creating a TEDx event here in Richmond where only insiders had an opportunity to speak it was decided that we would have an open mic night. The audience voted for one of 30 participants who presented a 2 minute TED style talk about their idea. I talked about the future of education. I didn’t win one of the two slots in the real TEDxRVA event in March but I was so happy to have participated. The stories that were chosen were powerful and personal. I am proud to have shared the stage with the speakers, 15-year-old student Noah Kim and @JohnSurvivorB. I wanted to share my speech. There may be a video out there but I thought this might work better for this format.

I have been considering the idea that teacher voice, as we have discussed it, may be the single most important idea in creating an educational system students deserve. When teachers speak out they embody the identity they create through speaking their truth. When teachers do this they move from passive to active participants in the identity of the teaching profession. Also, this action will in turn empower more teachers to speak out generating an expotentional cycle of identity affirmation that could change the way teachers are viewed in America, on teacher at a time.

So here is what I (attempted) to say in my 2 minutes.

I love TED Talks because I believe there is a spark that happens when human beings enter a learning relationship with each other.

I am here to talk about how we can create the education students deserve by the year 2030. The first thing we need to do is acknowledge that education already changed.

You just can’t tell from our standardized tests.

In 1998 Google was invented and with that the learning ecology of the classroom was permanently transformed.

The job of teachers used to be to help us remember things. Or to help us do things like, identify main characters or analyze the issues leading up to the civil war.

Now, Wikipedia and YouTube can teach you those things in 3 to 3-half minutes. And if you forget? Just Google it again.

So, if the job of a teacher isn’t to give us knowledge then what is it?

It is to teach what you can’t learn from YouTube. What we can only learn from other human beings.

The 4 Cs: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creative problem solving. YouTube can’t teach us how to create something new in the world, how to come up with an idea that solves a problem like getting clean drinking water to remote parts of Africa.

If you agree with the 4 Cs then the next question is how do teachers do that?

This is where it gets really exciting because if we accept the transformed learning ecology we can acknowledge that the key to learning is relationships.

Its the spark.

Good teaching is creating a healthy learning ecology. Without it students won’t work hard or take the risks necessary to communicate, collaborate, or be creative.

The last question is how do a teachers create a healthy learning ecology?

Unconditional positive regard. AKA Love.

Love is teachers’ secret weapon. And you can’t get it from YouTube. No matter how cute the LOL cats are.

We all know teachers who are the epitome of what we want for every child in America. They challenge, inspire, and engage our children in learning through love. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could just concentrate on that and stopping trying to do Google’s job?

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