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Home » Prepare Our Kids for Life, Not Standardized Tests: Ted Dintersmith (Transcript)

Prepare Our Kids for Life, Not Standardized Tests: Ted Dintersmith (Transcript)

Full text of education change agent Ted Dintersmith’s talk: Prepare Our Kids for Life, Not Standardized Tests at TEDxFargo conference.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here:

Best quote from this talk:

How can I share that vision of schools that are schools of possibility and hope, instead of placement and percentile measurement on standardized tests?


Ted Dintersmith – Author & Education Change Agent

This started innocuously. When my kids were in middle school, I got an email from the school saying we’re having a session next week, explaining to you what we’re doing to teach your children important life skills.

And as a parent, that’s irresistible. But that was the essence of the communication: teach your kids important life skills. And if it had been more descriptive, I wouldn’t be here today. But because it was so concise and so vague, I spent a week saying: What will they cover? What in fact should schools be doing to teach kids important skills that are useful in life?

And I started making my list, and my list included things that were skills, like inventive problem-solving or communication or teamwork or figuring out complex situations; or characteristics and character traits like determination and perseverance and resourcefulness, being able to stand up to failure, being bold or appreciating the wonder in nature and human achievement; or capabilities we all need, like setting bold goals for yourself, learning how to learn, being able to persevere through difficulties, finding your passion and purpose in life and figuring out how you can make your world better.

So I made that list, and I put it on a piece of paper. But I left a lot of blank space on the paper because I knew I would hear way more than that. And I wanted to take notes; I wanted to learn from this session.

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