By Suzanne Unck

Al October 11th the second edition of TEDxAmsterdamED took place. It was all about ‘the pursuit of excellence’. Jessika Lynch and Nephtalie Demei tell all about it in this trailer. I am still recovering from the vibrant, loving, energetic, open energy I experienced this day. I met a lot of interesting people and was inspired bij the talks. I’ll try to summarize it here and give you the opportunity to enjoy it with me through the links.

‘Excellence is a journey and we’re all students and teachers for life.’

The first speaker was Nephtalie Demei, one of the two instigators. She emphasized the value of the teacher: ‘Connect as a teacher on a human level. That’s the only way it will work.’ After she spoke, we all had to stand up and dance along with Dance4Life, an organization who supports increasing awareness of HIV and AIDS in the world by dancing with youngsters and talking with them on sexuality and HIV/AIDS.

TEDx went on with Marcel van Herpen, he spoke about excluding children as a mechanism of incapacity. He mentioned a hypothetical case with an ADHD-girl, who had lost her mother and who was very stubborn. School could not deal with her. After a while he showed us her picture: it was Pippi Longstocking. We realized that labeling causes negative thinking and that we look at what children can’t do. Our system organizes disconnections. ‘If teachers are disconnected, they can harm children.’

foto1The next speaker was Anton Philips. The oldest of today: 81 years old. He talked about motivation as key element for excellence. According to him, excellence is being the best you can be. But 50% of the employees doesn’t love his job. He developed an instrument to investigate a person’s talents and motivation to discover a motivational pattern en thus create a motivational environment at work. ‘What do you love doing?’

Pedro de Bruyckere was next and he showed why learning to ride the bike is a perfect example of excellence. The moment your parent let you go causes anger and fear, but is immediately followed by confidence. That trust is a key element in learning. But in education we use mechanisms of distrust, such as testing. He held a warm plea for the emotional motion of trust and moved himself and the audience.

In between, the second TED-talk of Brené Brown was shown on a screen. And after that Jasper van Merle sang his ‘excellence-song’ and we sang along with him.

foto2TEDxAmsterdamED went on with Willem Jan Renger. He is a gamification expert and sees games as a new language for learning. He wants education to use technology in order to make learning meaningful and interactive. There is a huge generation gap that makes that gamification isn’t used in a new way, but only covers up old learning methods. According to him, disruption is necessary in order to be innovative. We need courage, trust and seed money to really change education. ‘The future is already happening,’

Maurice de Hond was the next speaker. He did not inspire me at all. Although I like some principles of his Ipadschool, he had an irritated attitude because technology didn’t perform he wanted it to during his talk. Also he did not make contact with us, he just read hist text from… of course an Ipad. If that is the role of technology in his school, I’m scared for the consequences….

Claire de Pont is a French teacher and emphasized that connection in a classroom is crucial to get your message across. ‘Are we being taught by a system of by people?’. She wants us to let go of control. It’s all about teaching from your heart. ‘I don’t think we need a revolution. We need to empower the teacher so they empower their pupils.’

Amy Burke promotes mindfulness in schools. She focuses on paying attention to the present moment as it is. ‘Breathing is for free.’

Lunch was a great time to meet new people. There was a lunch box for two so I had to find a lunch mate. I picked Jeffrey Oemar. He told me he almost graduated from TU Delft and he started his educational career as a problem guy on a ‘vmbo’ school. Now he helps other kids with their homework. We talked about culture, quantum mechanics and buddhism and had a great lunch time. So much in common, although we appeared to be so different. It was very special.

TEDx continued with a human beatboxer and after that, Jelte de Jongh showed us how analyzing big data helps solving dyslexia as an example of learning analytics.

Charlotte Visch gave a demonstration of her work as an integral children’s therapist. After that, Jaffar Al-Aani moved me (and many other attendants) by his story of a young boy, coming to The Netherlands and his gratefulness towards some of the teachers who helped him during his early life. He showed us how important teachers can be.

Anne Hamers is another inspiring young person who told her own story on being infected by HIV at age 16. Through Dance4Life she educates young people to prevent them from getting infected.

Frum van Egmond developed her own school vision and method and named it ‘De Noordwijkse methode’. She is a primary school manager and teaches children to discover their talents, apply to them and make a positive contribution to the world. ‘They are creative designers of their own world.’

Meester Bart told some true stories of his experiences with children at school: funny and touching. And Jonathan Even-Zohar showed us a new perspective on history education: not out of our own identity, but as world citizens. After that Jacqueline Boerefijn explained how positive psychology can contribute to happiness. Not very compatible, however, with her own appearance. I couldn’t feel it.

The day ended with a talk by Andrew Niemeijer who told us why tachers can be compard with the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. A nice metaphor: challenging the curious Alices.

By that time my head was bouncing and my cheeks were red. It was time to go outside and take a deep breath of fresh air. This very intense day made me even more realize that we all have the task to contribute to the world as we would like it to be and it motivated me even more to contribute to learning by giving all students the opportunities to succeed and learn beyond what they can imagine.

Thank you for inviting me.



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