On a regular basis I am presented with cases of children and teens who are not reaching their potential or falling through the cracks. They have received very little to no intervention and have been labelled by their academic or behavioural difficulties. Although as a professional I appreciate labels that provide me with an intervention road map, a label should never define a child. Unfortunately, too often labels are used to brand our students and define them and their abilities. This is something that saddens me, as one of the things we know about children and teens is that they are often very good at living up
to, or living down to, the expectations set by the adults around them, Although
this isn’t always done consciously, I have seen it happen all too often that children do not excel to their potential because they haven’t been exposed to educators who believe in their potential.
The following TED Talk by Rita Pierson is one that should be viewed by every
educator. I make a point of showing it to any pre-service or new teachers with whom I work. I also recently showed it at a principals’ and vice-principals’ seminar which took place for the public schools here in the Turks and Caicos Islands, as a gentle reminder that our teachers need to be motivated to develop strong connections with their students. Dr.Pierson’s message of every student needing a champion is an extremely important one and it reminds us of the value of human connection in learning.
Never underestimate the effect that being a champion for a child or teen can have in your life.
Note: In preparing for this post, I was saddened to learn that Dr.Rita Pierson passed away in 2013. Her TED talk is one of the most popular Education TED talks of all time. In addition to her work as a teacher, she touched many lives by coordinating and presenting at seminars that focused on building a person’s self-esteem and strengths through the students parents and school faculty.
Dr.Rita Pierson wrote a blog post to accompany her TED Talk for Huff Post TED Weekends. View her original blog post here: Huffington Post – Dr.Rita Pierson