Monthly Archives: May 2013

On A Mission To Transform Education

Sir Ken Robinson

Do you know Sir Ken Robinson?

Doesn’t matter. [But you might want to get to know who he is].

Included here is his latest TED talk on education (that’s mostly what he talks about).

It’s called:

 “How to Escape Education’s Death Valley”.

Why I highly recommend that you watch is twofold.

One, its content is superb and is on a crucial topic – Education. More on this later.

Two, the delivery is fantastic.  Whether you are on the hook to deliver a TED talk, or whether you have any kind of public speaking assignment, there’s a lot you can learn from Sir Ken.

It easily made my list of favorite TED talks.

So, first on content, here are a few of the things he talks about and I quote –

chennai-kids“Kids prosper best with a broad curriculum that celebrates their various talents, not just a small range of them. And by the way, the arts aren’t just important because they improve math scores. They’re important because they speak to parts of children’s being which are otherwise untouched.

The second principle that drives human life flourishing is curiosity. If you can light the spark of curiosity in a child, they will learn without any further assistance, very often. Children are natural learners. It’s a real achievement to put that particular ability out, or to stifle it.Curiosity is the engine of achievement.

Now the reason I say this is because one of the effects of the current culture here, if I can say so, has been to de-professionalize teachers.There is no system in the world or any school in the country that is better than its teachers.Teachers are the lifeblood of the success of schools. 

But teaching is a creative profession.Teaching, properly conceived, is not a delivery system. You know, you’re not there just to pass on received information. Great teachers do that, but what great teachers also do is mentor, stimulate, provoke, engage. You see, in the end, education is about learning. If there’s no learning going on, there’s no education going on. And people can spend an awful lot of time discussing education without ever discussing learning. The whole point of education is to get people to learn”.

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And, now on delivery –

This talk combines wit and intellect in one fantastic package; it is one of the most engaging talks I have ever heard with dry British humor at its very best. The delivery kept me just as enthralled as its content.

Clearly, Sir Ken is talking about a topic that he is passionate about but he makes his case so very well!

I would strongly urge anyone out to do a talk, teach or present any material to take a few pointers from watching him speak. I learnt a lot and I hope to put at least some of it to use.  

And it’s not just about public speaking either. It’s about any speaking, and how you can be engaging, authentic, factual and convincing when you are interacting with anyone, including an audience of one. What’s great is how he has taken that skill to a whole new level by using it to communicate – really communicate – with a much larger audience.

Here is his TED talk again for anyone interested enough to watch and learn:

 “How to Escape Education’s Death Valley”

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Tired of My Salutes to Bill Gates?

If yes, that’s really too bad.  I can’t salute the man enough.

Along came another interview, this time on 60 Minutes, but once again with Charlie Rose. It’s called Bill Gates 2.0 – the man you don’t know.

Here it is, the 60 Minutes interview

For me it was another power packed interview. Something that made me say, boy I’m glad I got to know about him and that he lived when I did.

Here are many of the things that were touched upon –

  • Eradicating diseases –  polio, tuberculosis and malaria
  • Vaccines
  • Toilets that don’t need plumbing for the developing world
  • Leonardo da vinci
  • Hunger for knowledge about everything – especially science and technology
  • Books
  • Curiosity
  • Optimism
  • Changing the world
  • A big heart
  • Growing up with Steve Jobs
  • Integrity and humility – learned from his father, his hero
  • The most influential person in the 21st century

Definitely, Bill Gates 2.0! This is not the same man that founded Microsoft.

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At one point, Bill Gates does get choked up when asked about Steve Jobs. There’s more about Bill Gates and Steve Jobs here.

In this older interview, Steve Jobs was asked a pointed question about Bill Gates –

“Do you envy Bill a bit about his second act?”

His answer was this:

“His goal is not to be the richest guy in the cemetery. And that’s a good thing!”

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Are you one of those who don’t care for Microsoft technology and products? In that case, just think about what some of the resulting proceeds are doing for the good of the world. So, get over it [it’s not bad technology!]. Go purchase some. You’re helping the people who need help the most.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit much.

Just go watch the interview and get inspired –

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