November 15, 2010

Gever Tulley: "Teach less so we can learn more"

I caught up with Gever Tulley from The Tinkering School at The Education Project in Bahrain, where we were exploring just how we can set up more student-led learning starting from the teacher- or school plan-led processes most schools are stuck in at the moment.

Gever is most well known for his two TED Talks: Five Dangerous Things For Kids and Teaching Life Lessons Through Tinkering. Concepts discussed at a $6,000 a ticket conference are one thing.

What can regular schools learn from his experiences? My quick video with Gever provides some starter points (also available on Vimeo). The key learning from Tinkering School that can be shared with regular schools can be summed up in one statement:

Do less teaching and let students to make more responsibiulty for their education.

The very same mantra was echoed two weeks later in South Africa at the Microsoft Innovative Education Forum by a high school student on the main stage. But, how do we make this move in regular schools? Gever thinks there are three good starting points:

  1. Classroom sessions can be self-directed
    Start small, with projects that are discovery-based, such as taking apart an existing device, exploring it.
  2. Get students used to Design Thinking
    It's hard to come up with projects - use some design thinking processes so that students get better, over time, at discovering really interesting problems for which they an create solutions.
  3. Provide protection
    Let kids do their projects, providing some safety nets so that when they fail that failure is supported. Students should be able to take up the pieces and have another go at it, without suffering 'social harm' from their initial failures.

If you want to explore some more ideas around the processes involved in Design Thinking for learning, I'd be delighted for you to join my session (this session room opens one hour before the talk) Tuesday 16 November 6am GMT, at the Global Education Conference. Register online now.


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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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