Monday, May 9, 2011

Students leaving a legacy - Alan November

We live in an era of bells and whistles and razzmatazz, the 30 second sound bite, flash animations and “edutainment”. For a message to “hit home” it has to be delivered with all the “bells and whistles” that are possible. Right? Wrong.

Educational consultant Alan November proves that powerful thoughts, spoken softly in the most traditional manner of all - a teacher in front of some students with only some slides (still images) to help him, can be riveting.

November crams a lot into this relatively brief TEDxNYED talk. One central theme though is that our students deserve the opportunity to leave a legacy through involvement in real world issues - that they consider important. The teacher doesn’t own the learning - it belongs to the students.

I’m hesitant to repeat November’s words here as they are told with a gentle humility which ironically makes them more powerful. In essence though, November values his students and values the contribution that they can make to our society - not just at some hazily defined time when they grow up and finish school, but here and now while they are at school. Their school “work” itself can and should be significant in the here and now. He stresses the significance of allowing students to have the opportunity to make a difference - to “leave a legacy”.

The word inspirational has been devalued in recent times which is a real pity as this is one talk that deserves the accolade. It isn’t just challenging, or thought provoking - it really is inspirational, even without “bells and whistles”.

(Access his presentation here or at

Alan Novembers web page =

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