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  • I must say, this is my first time in Taiwan

  • Actually, my first in Asia.

  • I'm really excited.

  • and, um, thank you.

  • I've only been here for two days, but

  • (Thank you for your invitation)

  • (It's my pleasure to be here)

  • Before I speak I’ve got something important to say.

  • This is ted, so they told me to be very brief and to the point, concise.

  • so I promise I'll as brief as possible

  • no matter how long it takes.

  • I come from a conference that was held in Doha, Qatar

  • At the international education resources network summit

  • one of the most important conference in the world about education.

  • And I've done in a couple of other times.

  • So

  • right.

  • successful running around the world

  • everything was laid out for me

  • not.

  • and I come from a small village in the north of Italy.

  • from a lower middle class family

  • actually to be perfectly honest, to European standard ,pretty poor family

  • and if I look back in my past I realize

  • that very few would bet on me.

  • I was, you know, one of the losers

  • I was kind of a nerd.

  • And proud of it, it was fun.

  • still am. so um.

  • But i mean, the school environment was really tough.

  • you have to fight your way out.

  • When I say fight, I don't mean in the metaphorical term.

  • I mean, literally, fight.

  • And as you can tell

  • it is me right there

  • the tough looking one

  • that. yeah

  • I was clearly the strongest and the biggest of the whole bunch.

  • no problem for me there

  • when I was 14 I had to decide the high school to attend

  • And my teacher, he said to my mom

  • Ms...I'm sorry but your son is not one of the smart kids

  • not the one. He's, you know, kind of stupid

  • he was asking weird questions.

  • You should just send him to work.

  • You know, don't bother send him to school

  • Certainly don't send him to Ginnasio, the toughest school in the country.

  • I mean, ever

  • So my parents have been obviously the awesome parents they are

  • They didn't listen the piles of nonsense

  • And they send me precisely to the school that they said I'll never be able to make it.

  • And two years later I was given a chance

  • I won a full scholarship for a very prestigious school.

  • In the north of Italy, closely to Slovenia, it's called United World College

  • Its mission was to make education a force to unite people,

  • nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.

  • Just like my previous school. same thing.

  • Yeah I was kind of like that.

  • But this is my turning point.

  • In that school I had amazing teachers.

  • They were the best.

  • Because more than just teachers,

  • they were mentors.

  • They were guides, and they were friends.

  • They told us that we could be everything we wanted

  • We could do anything in our lives.

  • If we believe we can do it,

  • if we had a plan

  • and if we acted on it

  • right and making peace on earth was not a hippie dream

  • It could have been a reality.

  • So that gave me the vision and the strength

  • to take on many challenges that have gone through my life.

  • It brought me where I am today.

  • If I'd listened to my teacher back in my previous school

  • I am probably sweeping the floor of the school by now.

  • But how many kids didn't have this opportunity?

  • It's nice to say the success story of one guy

  • How many people are stuck in the small town

  • with uninspired teachers, violent classmates

  • and no hope on the horizon

  • In the past of couples of years I traveled extensively in many countries

  • many continents,schools, universities

  • fortune 500 companies

  • And I can tell you that my story actually is not my story

  • It's maybe your story, or maybe your story

  • It's story of thousands of people that I spoke to individually

  • They came up to me and said

  • I have the same thing

  • Thank you

  • And theses are just the ones I spoke to in person

  • It's probably millions of people

  • or hundred of millions people. Who knows?

  • This is a tragedy, right?

  • Why is this happening?

  • And many people ask the question

  • Are we preparing children for the uncertain future that lies ahead?

  • But before we can answer this question,

  • I think we first must address two very important issues.

  • The first is do we even know what we are looking for?

  • What's the purpose.

  • What is education for?

  • Because if we don't agree what education is for

  • then we can never say we're doing a good or a poor job

  • I am going to tell you what education was for.

  • Education was created for making factory workers

  • See at the end of 18th century. industrialization has the problem

  • They really had a hard time convincing people to leave the open fields and come to work at a factory

  • with dark rooms,10~12 hour a day, 10 ~12 hours a day,

  • repeating the same monotonous

  • mindless task over and over, obeying every order

  • without ever questioning anything and never complain about it.

  • I mean you can see why they had trouble finding volunteers.

  • I'm sure you have seen the historical reenactment by Mr.Chaplin

  • So they created something called public educations

  • and placed you at where you are strictly separated by a year

  • where you have to follow orders

  • never question authority and just do what you're told.

  • sit down and shut up until you're told otherwise

  • just obey orders.

  • we spent the first three years of our lives

  • learning how to walk and talk, kind of useful skills I would say

  • and for the rest we're told sit down and shut up.

  • and yeah that sounds like a great idea

  • I'm gonna do that.

  • just follow as exactly as instructed, never question authority

  • I remember in the elementary school

  • one day the teacher told us

  • now children,whatever I ask

  • I want all you to answer at once

  • understood? ok

  • So how much is six times four?

  • and we all said, at once!

  • See for the purpose that we set out for two hundred years ago

  • the education system is doing fine.

  • In fact, it's working perfectly

  • creating obedient workers

  • The trouble is

  • This approach is no longer useful

  • It was never humane to begin with

  • but it was economically advantageous.

  • And now, it's neither.

  • So are we preparing children for the uncertain future that lies ahead?

  • The second problem is this:

  • no matter the supposed expert would like to tell you

  • Believe me,

  • there are many of them,

  • nobody really knows what the future is going to look like five years from now

  • and let alone ten or twenty years which is when a child who's now in kindergarten

  • will graduate and will have to find a job.

  • What about the rest?What about the hundreds of millions of people

  • who are working today and who could be out of a job

  • because they are displaced by robotics and artificial intelligence five, ten or twenty years from now

  • I hear that some guy wrote a book about that

  • about robots will stealing your job.

  • you can read for free at the PirateBay

  • It's illegal. It's creative commons open knowledge.

  • So we only know one thing for certain

  • that the only constant is change.

  • After all, Entropy is not what used to be

  • Change will always come

  • and most likely at an increasing pace

  • With this in mind

  • I think we must do three things.

  • The first, we must prepare to accept change in stead of fighting it

  • I've been afraid of changes many times

  • I didn't want to change school, I didn't want to change jobs

  • Let me tell you

  • whenever I was afraid to do something

  • I didn't want to change

  • Those are by far the most depressing moments of my life

  • Being afraid is not nice

  • It's paralyzing

  • Because when you are afraid, you're afraid to fail

  • You're afraid that yeah, I would not make it to that school

  • I would not win the scholarship

  • I would not be able to change up and find something else.

  • You know. They were right. I was stupid

  • I couldn't learn. I couldn't learn lalalalaal

  • It's a downward spiral.

  • We live in a society that stigmatizes mistakes.

  • We've been living in where failure is not an option

  • And that we should play safe

  • Study something that will get you a safe job

  • Work for a big company, look for stability

  • But you see, in the future of great uncertainty

  • Stability is the illusion of the unimaginative.

  • lifelong. I think we must move away from the idea that teaching is for adults, and learning is for kids.

  • Learning is a lifelong experience.

  • And anybody can be a mentor,

  • a teacher, or a friend to someone else.

  • Or a guide.

  • In our strictly individualistic society,

  • our personal success is imperative

  • So we have standardized tests

  • we try to get the best grades

  • at the best school

  • so we can get to the best university

  • and then we can get to best job and outcompete everyone else and be successful.

  • But in a collaborative society

  • your accomplishments. An accomplished individual is one that contribute the most

  • both of their personal development as well as that of their fellow human beings.

  • When I was at school I remember that

  • the way I learned best was not when the teacher was talking

  • was when one of my classmates would come up to me and say

  • hey how? this is how you do it ?

  • Like in five minutes we would solve something that in 2 hours of lesson that nobody understood

  • and I thought why can't we just get to that

  • Those 5 minutes of peer learning

  • and when I was teaching someone else

  • I was really testing my ability of understanding and reciprocating that

  • And also it was much more fun and engaging

  • It was rewarding to be able to teach to someone

  • you can see in their eyes like there've been going like tho sfor 2 hours

  • and you teach them in two minutes

  • and their eyes go like

  • yeah! I get it

  • It's fun, right?

  • And we need time to experiment

  • to make mistakes, to teach yourself, to teach others

  • maybe with interesting problems

  • not, here's the vacuum. Imagine this idealized

  • no no no, real life problems

  • Problems that have many solutions

  • maybe no optimal solutions

  • maybe no one know what the answer is

  • maybe there are no answers. Who knows?

  • Fun and challenging problems

  • and the process of discovery just like they were saying

  • "starve them, not stuff them."

  • The speaker before me.

  • It's exactly right

  • Discovery. Learning is a process that happens when you're interested and engaged.

  • Not when you're receiving

  • This way, you foster an innate curiosity

  • that is inside all of us.

  • And finally I think we must develop a stronger culture of grit

  • Grit means passion. It means perseverance. It means never giving up.

  • The determination

  • So many people see my success story

  • and they wonder what's different about me

  • Am I special?

  • no

  • Do I come from a rich family?

  • No

  • Am I some sort of genius? Nonsense, my teacher said that I was too stupid to learn

  • So what's different?

  • It's very simple