Do The Burpee, a TEDx tale

Updated: Apr 8, 2021

I like to think that my TEDx presentation got a few people talking, more people thinking and a whole lot of people moving!

I certainly got heart rates going for a moment or two there, when the audience were thrown into the participation stakes of my talk, believing I was going to get them all doing burpees in a theatre. My goal was to make them uncomfortable, to disrupt them purposefully, make them laugh and then engage their interest. And finally, to suggest a new idea. An idea that we need to move outside the box, literally.

I focused on disruptive behaviours in education, pointed out the benefits of these and why it's a good thing that they occur. Here's a snippet from my presentation:

"So yes, these (disruptive) students are challenging, because they challenge the system to change. I am where I am today because of disruptive kids. They taught me to think outside the box. I’m a better teacher, seeing the world through their eyes. Disruption forces change, change opens the door to creativity, and creativity is the future."

* * *

"So when is there going to be enough disruption in the education system for change? The landscape has changed and is continuing to do so at a rapid pace. We can’t see the future but we do know that educational institutions are products of social circumstances set well in our past. The industrial revolution in the 1800’s saw education become compulsory and formalised as we know it today. They needed factory workers. We need creative problem solvers. Surely it’s time to move with the times, literally!"

But do you know what my biggest take home on the day was? Among the incredible line up of speakers, there were four under the age of 20. These four speakers were clearly leaders in their own rights and already incredible success stories in relation to their chosen fields. The future is in remarkable hands. The youngest two of this talented bunch (16 and 18), openly discussed their success through alternative education pathways. That is, they chose NOT to accept the system as prescribed, and ploughed their own path. It resonated so strongly with me that the education system did not support these highly creative and intelligent minds, yet they still doggedly followed their passion, well outside the box.

But what about the kids that need an alternative path but don't have a voice, the resources, the words of advice, the network beyond the classroom to be successful in their endeavours? It takes me back to the philosophy that underlies everything I do. It drives my teaching, my research and my community work. How many amazing talents are left undiscovered? How many future stars never get to shine?'

My TEDx experience has continued to fuel my ever-growing fire, to get kids moving:

The educational environment needs to change, NOT the kids trying to fit into it.

I'd love to hear your take on what you think future education should look like?

Wongy x

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