“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 the suggestions have been sensible,” she says in a recent CNN article.

(Next page: Pierson’s TED video on what teaching means)

Pierson also explains how education is beset by fads, but there are some basic truths; for instance, if a child isn’t present, he or she can’t learn. She also believes that teachers who fail should be fired.

“It takes guts to hold students and teachers accountable,” she says.

 

Pierson also says that teachers, schools, and parents shouldn’t  push every child to go to college, because it will make them feel worthless if they don’t.

Read the full article.

Pierson’s TED talk was featured in the TED Talks Education one-hour program on May 7 on PBS, which brought together a diverse group of teachers and education advocates delivering short, high-impact talks on the theme of teaching and learning.

These original TED Talks are given by thought leaders including Geoffrey Canada, Bill Gates, and Sir Ken Robinson. TED Talks Education is part of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s American Graduate initiative. (See all speakers and performers.)

Watch this video created for Teacher Appreciation that also discusses what makes a good teacher: