What can adults learn from kids?

So the last few days have seen me watching way too many videos on TED, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter to try and meet the first of this weeks EdBlogNZ challenges. I finally settled on Adora Svitak’s TED talk. What can adults learn from kids you might ask? Well, quite a lot if you listen to what Adora has to say.

The biggest ‘yes-moment’ from her talk that jumped out for me was that “learning between grown-ups and kids should be reciprocal”. Now, I already knew this but to hear a 12 year old spouting such awesomeness was not only compelling but inspiring. The perception for some that the teacher holds all the knowledge and skills is quite damaging and I think it must shift immediately. I quite like how some schools have thrown out the terms ‘teachers’ and ‘students’ altogether- they are known as learning leaders and learners. As educators and as adults, “the goal is not to turn kids into your kind of adult but rather better adults than you have been”… Seriously, this kid is wise beyond her years!

Adora brought up some other good points around how kids aren’t hampered as much when it comes to thinking about reasons not to try something. I took two things from this- one for myself and one for my learners.

  1. When the wero for this blog was laid down, I was reminded that we ask our learners to step out of their comfort zones daily but for some reason we can find this extremely difficult to do ourselves. Why is this? Fear of criticism? Fear of falling short? So this is my new goal for term 4 and beyond…step out of that comfort zone and into my learning zone everyday!
  2. Working with teenagers can be a rollercoaster ride. For some reason, that happy go lucky attitude that a 10 year old possesses is not always present in a 16 year old. A teens self belief can often take a knock based on what others have said about them or their work. Some common responses to their learning can be “it’s too hard”, “I don’t know how” or “I’m just going to fail anyway”. Something I’ll definitely be adding to my lessons is more learning around having a growth mindset. Even just adding the word ‘yet’ to the end of some sentences can make a huge difference to a learners thinking about success and how they see themselves as a learner.

“In order to make anything a reality, you have to dream about it first”


About Jo Smith

Health & PE teacher and TIC Outdoor Education at Aotea College.
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