An old post I wrote while studying to become a teacher.
Activist, author, and child prodigy Adora Svitak makes the case for childish thinking in her compelling TED talk.
She’s 16-years-old but eloquent as my 40-year-old aunt…and that’s eloquent.
I’ve taken the quotes that really stuck out to me and pasted them for you below.
“WHAT ADULTS CAN LEARN FROM CHILDREN”
[by Adora Svitak]
Straight from Svitak:
“The traits the word ‘childish’ addresses are seen so often in adults that we should abolish this age-discriminatory word when it comes to criticizing behavior associated with irresponsibility and irrational thinking.”
“…who’s to say that certain types of irrational thinking aren’t exactly what the world needs?”
optimism & dreams
“For better or worse, we kids aren’t hampered as much when it comes to thinking about reasons why not to do things.”
“…we kids still dream about perfection. And that’s a good thing, because in order to make anything a reality, you have to dream about it first.”
control & care
“Now, what’s even worse than restriction is that adults often underestimate kids abilities. We love challenges, but when expectations are low, trust me, we will sink to them.”
“…to show that you truly care, you listen.”
“But there’s a problem with this rosy picture of kids being so much better than adults. Kids grow up and become adults just like you. Or just like you, really? The goal is not to turn kids into your kind of adult, but rather better adults than you have been.”
my two cents…
I agree with Svitak about everything, except for one thing; as a student, I don’t think she fully appreciates classroom control. It’s necessary. No classroom can function well without some rules and guidelines. I know, because I once set very little rules or guidelines (not my thing, anyway), and my students were less focused and less successful because of it. It’s a fine balance. We teachers need to give as much freedom as possible so long as learning is not impeded.
one more thought…
Svitak paints an accurate picture of kids who “still dream about perfection.”Listening to her, I remembered a situation that captures the child mentality perfectly.
Once, I left my black handbag in a classroom over lunch break. I returned to the empty room to find a one of my grade 5 students, Emma, hunched over my bag. “Oh no!” I immediately thought. I’m ashamed to admit it now, but I though to myself, “she must be taking something from my bag.”
Rushing over to Emily to “catch her” red-handed, I soon became embarrassed. I saw that she was holding a mop of soggy tissue papers, cleaning my bag from the grit it picked up from the floor. “What are you doing?” I asked. And then she looked up at me, a small mess of freckles, and said in her slow, deliberate way, “Cleaning…your bag…” I thought she had been stealing, when she had just been helping me behind my back.
Kids do really think a different way, see the world differently. It’s a shame that we grow up.
Do you think you’re childish enough? Or, have you become too serious and narrow-minded to the see the big, bright picture? Have you lost your rose-coloured glasses?
Something to think about…