Video 1: Shane Koyczan: To This Day...for the Bullied and Beautiful: By Lauren Bradley
First off, wow; Shane Koyczan couldn't have presented a more brilliant speech. “To This Day...for the Bullied and the Beautiful” is a speech on what it is like to be young and different in today’s world; and if you’re anything like me...grade school wasn’t easy. Koyczan talks about how he would constantly hear, “Just stand up for yourself, you have to stand up for yourself.” But how do we do this, if we don’t even know who we are. You know kids, one day they want to be a fireman, the next a dentist; but what is the fallacy in this? Or is there even one at all? The education system expects children to define themselves at such a young, inexperienced age; and if you did not define yourself, someone would for you; teachers, faculty, students, "grown-ups". Everyday another child is defining themselves by what other people say or think about them; fag, gay, stupid, ugly…and we are expected to accept this.
You are being told what you are but at the same time, you are being asked who you want to become. You know those high school days of visiting the counseling services and the career centers by force; being asked who you want to become. Well...I’m myself aren't I? Koyczan's experience with this was about the same as mine. He was asked, ‘’What do you want to be when you grow up?’’ he replied, “A writer.” followed by, “Choose something realistic.” This is the problem with these types of actions; they asked him who he wanted to be, but told him what not to be. Why can’t we be who we already are? Why do people refuse to accept that? We are expected to somehow must become what we are not, sacrificing what we are, to inherit the "masquerade" of what we will be.
But what made his dreams so easily dismissive? Who has the power and the right to shutdown someone else’s dreams, to tell them, “No, you can’t be that.” And at the same time, his dreams were being defined by some else, being defined as stupid, unrealistic and so on. But just like a boomerang, his dreams came back to him, and he used those dreams to take a stand. He told the audience one of the first lines of one of his first poems was about a world who demanded that he hate himself, and at age of fifteen through eighteen, he hated himself for becoming someone he knew he despised; a bully. When he was nineteen he wrote the words, “I will love myself, despite the ease in which I lean towards the opposite.”
With this he expressed that he was not the only kid who grew up like this, that is or was bullied and hurt by people's words and actions. So kids are growing up, being forced to believe they aren't special, that no one will ever grow to love them, that that are unimportant. To this day kids are still being called names, still being hurt by other children who are raised to believe that looks and beauty are the of the utmost importance; and anything less...is tossed aside. He says if you don’t think you are beautiful, if you don’t think you are perfect, get a new mirror, look a little closer, stare a little longer, because there is something inside you that made you keep going, that pushed you just a little further, despite everyone who told you, “You can’t.” As kids and as adults we must fight and push to believe that those people are wrong.
As educators we HAVE to take a stand. No longer will the phrase “Kids will be kids” past my ears while another child sits in silent agony, hopeless from the pain of fellow classmates have caused. The education system needs to wake up!!! It does not understand that this type is behavior hinders learning in such a tremendous way, yet it continues to happen every day in schools all around the world. We must find a way to change this, but first, by changing ourselves. Maybe you were the bully or maybe you were the bullied, but no human life should ever have to go through this pain, especially in a place that should be embracing who you are and who you are going to become.Video 2: Alison Gopnik: What do babies think?: By Sarah Barnett
Alison Gopnik explains how babies and children think. She is a wonderful speaker and full of tons of information. She delivered this presentation beautifully. To sum up the video; she basically says that children and babies are like sponges. They soak up information better than adults. She showed a few pictures of a study of fifteen-eighteen month olds; the adult gave the children two bowls with broccoli and goldfish in the bowls. The adults then observed which bowl this children would choose. As you would imagine they mainly chose the goldfish, but who wouldn't. Then the adults pretended to like the broccoli and not the goldfish, after that they asked the children to give them something out of the bowls.
This research showed that most of the eighteen month olds gave the adults the broccoli because the adults pretended they liked it. So, basically the eighteen month olds responded to instruction and absorbed what the task was to be done. Although, the fifteen month olds just stared and handed out goldfish. We learned from this video that in all actuality, children are the quickest and most efficient when it comes to learning. Children have brains that are always willing to learn new things. Alison Gopnik also said that when we (adults) say children are not paying attention, we are really saying they are bad at paying attention. This statement is so true because it takes children a few tries or experiments to figure out the correct answer. All in all we learned some great information.
Video 3: Mae Jemison: Teach Arts and Sciences Together: by Malary Booker
Mae Jemison says that we are failing to act in the future. She says that our mission is to integrate Science and art together. If we keep thinking that Science and art are separate then we are in trouble. Many people say that scientists are not creative and this is not the case. Mae Jemison is an astronaut, a doctor, an art collector, and a dancer. She told stories from her own education and from her time in space. She calls on educators to teach both arts and sciences, both intuition and logic, as one to create bold thinkers. Mae told about how she became an astronaut and how she incorporated creativity into it. A quote from her is:
“Science and art are two parts of one thing. They come from one source and that source is creativity.”
This TED Talk video made us wonder about Mae Jemison’s whole biography so we looked it up. If you go to this link there is a mini biography video and a biography of Mae Jemison: http://www.biography.com/people/mae-c-jemison-9542378 . She is very inspiring and we encourage you to read her biography and learn from it!