Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Merit is not a test score

"This talk is about challenging something far deeper, the underlying ideal that merit is a singular score..independence, variety and our prioritization of ethics help promote the idea that the strengths of a society come from the diversity of ways we define merit and reward it"
Adora Svitak, is a young author and motivational speaker. Since the age of 4, Adora has been exploring what she can do with the written word: everything from championing literacy and youth voice to working with the UN's World Food Programme to raise awareness about world hunger. Hoping to instill her love of writing in others, she taught her first class at a local elementary school the year her first book, Flying Fingers, debuted; since then, she has spoken at hundreds of schools, classrooms and conferences around the world. Her 2010 TED talk "What Adults Can Learn from Kids" received over 3.3 million views. According to her the world needs "childish" thinking: bold ideas, wild creativity and especially optimism and kids' big dreams deserve high expectations starting with grownups' willingness to learn from children as much as to teach.
In this more recent talk Adora explains how the idea of merit being determined by test scores, grades, or checkmarks on standards is a crucially flawed one. Pulling from research in both the business and education worlds, personal experience as a senior in high school, and the experiences of other students around the nation, she discusses how narrowing our focus on one definition of "merit" has damaging consequences for creativity, good citizenship, and the perpetuation of socioeconomic inequalities. She emphasizes the role of student voice in promoting equality in America's schools--particularly, how the perspective of students like her in classrooms across the nation is vital for education reform that truly puts "kids first." By becoming directly involved in how their schools are changing, students can become advocates in an issue that directly impacts them. (from youtube) - Very eloquent talk.
-- Read interview at 2014 WE day in Seattle

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