“Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like,” says Rita Pierson, a veteran educator and recent TED Talks Education speaker. According to Pierson, connecting with students on a real, human level is the key to improving student performance.

Pierson, who’s been a professional educator for 40 years, has worked at every level of the public school spectrum from elementary through high school. Having been in education for such a long time, she says she’s witnessed many changes, all aimed at school improvement and boosting student performance.

“Needless to say, not all...

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