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← What if we educated our children to joy? | Antonella Verdiani | TEDxVaugirardRoad

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Showing Revision 29 created 03/25/2016 by Denise RQ.

  1. I am 10 years old.
  2. This is the audition day
    to enter the Scala Dance School of Milan.
  3. I am walking up the steps
    of a huge stairway
  4. which takes me to the exam room.
  5. I am scared!
  6. I am really scared,
  7. and as I am walking up,
    I see a crowd of beautiful children.
  8. These are the students
    of the Scala walking down,
  9. they are all beautiful,
    thin, and perfect.
  10. I am neither perfect
    nor particularly thin,
  11. and I am starting to feel different.
  12. At the top of the stairs,
  13. stand two ladies
    with a rather frozen smile,
  14. the same smile one needs to carry while
    dancing, having unbearable calf cramps.
  15. That's ballet!
  16. They tell me, "Here, come in."
  17. This is a huge room with huge mirrors.
  18. And I realize that we are
    some 20 little girls,
  19. all rather terrified
    by this austere place.
  20. The piano starts to play.
  21. I remember it was "Nocturne" by Chopin.
  22. It was beautiful!
  23. The ladies tell us,
  24. "Now you can dance
    your own way, barefoot."
  25. Luckily enough I think,
    because at that moment,
  26. I don't remember anything
    from my two years of dance classes
  27. and I start dancing,
    I launch myself into dance,
  28. propelled by the music.
  29. And as I am dancing,
    I remember the comforting words
  30. from my professor,
    my maestro, Maestro Morucci
  31. when he used to say, "Listen,
    there are two important things:
  32. technique and passion.
  33. One day, they will come together as one."
  34. "You have passion, it is your treasure."
  35. Suddenly, with a hand-clap,
    the music stops.
  36. Now we have to go through the inspection
    with these two ladies
  37. still holding the same smile.
  38. Then, one of them starts
    to examine my feet
  39. and my legs, especially my feet.
  40. She stares at them,
    and then she calls someone;
  41. her friend or colleague tells her
    something that I don't understand.
  42. She also asks me
    to turn around in front of her.
  43. At that moment, the same impression
    of being different,
  44. the one I felt in the staircase
  45. when I was there, watching
    the students, comes back.
  46. I must be someone very odd.
  47. I think about my feet,
    they are really odd.
  48. Secretly, I look at
    my friends' feet which seem,
  49. of course, the most elegant in the world.
  50. Fortunately,
    the inspection comes to its end.
  51. Now, we have to go to another room,
    this one is a classroom.
  52. This is the Scala Primary School
    pupils classroom.
  53. And it is a classroom
    with old wooden benches,
  54. a blackboard, a real classroom.
  55. "Sit on the benches!" they command us,
    "Now we are going to call the roll!"
  56. And as the names are called,
  57. we are shown
    either the right side or the left side.
  58. Then one of the ladies,
    still holding the same smile of course,
  59. tells us, "Now, we have made our decision:
  60. here on the right side, are the pupils
    we selected to enter the Scala,
  61. and on the left, the ones
    that we, unfortunately, cannot take on.
  62. You may leave."
  63. I am on the left.
  64. Suddenly, I realize why my feet have
    been under such a thorough examination,
  65. and the confirmation of the fact
    that I am someone really odd comes.
  66. All of a sudden, tears start
    running down my cheeks.
  67. I remember, more than tears,
    those were desperate sobs.
  68. Despite the tears,
  69. I still manage to get down
    the stairs and get to the place
  70. my mother has been waiting
    for me on the first floor,
  71. and I tell her in a tired voice,
    "Mommy, I was turned down."
  72. Suddenly, in a snap,
    my life, my beautiful world
  73. of a little girl destined to be
    a dancer falls apart.
  74. From good pupil, I turn into someone
    bad, a monster with ugly feet.
  75. I still picture myself in the bus
    which was taking me home.
  76. I was sobbing.
  77. I also remember,
  78. all these years when I had to wear
    sandals in summer,
  79. I was ashamed of my feet,
    but I didn't know why.
  80. No one ever told me.
  81. And then, again, during at least
    10 years after this episode,
  82. my heart was breaking
    every time someone,
  83. thinking it would please me,
    took me to a dance performance,
  84. or whenever I saw one on TV.
  85. The pain kept coming back, every time,
  86. as if I had forgotten
    the meaning of the word "happiness",
  87. as if I had lost the right to be happy.
  88. Fortunately, time heals all wounds.
  89. One day, I set myself free
    from this failure circle,
  90. and I realized there were
    1,000 ways to dance life.
  91. And then, I realized something else:
  92. that episode, this child wound
    had not broken one,
  93. even two essential things to me:
  94. the ability to dream
    and the love of life,
  95. the one I felt when I was dancing.
  96. So, as a young adult, and even now,
  97. I started taking lessons, and I still
    continue to take dance lessons,
  98. ballet, tango, tarantella...
  99. I am not telling you
    all this to relate my life.
  100. There is nothing extraordinary,
    it is normal, it is common.
  101. It happened to me, it can happen to you,
  102. or maybe it will happen to your children.
  103. To me, there is absolutely nothing
    normal about that.
  104. This episode is the expression
    of an ordinary cruelty
  105. that our world,
    with our educational system ahead,
  106. keeps inflicting on children,
    killing their ability to dream.
  107. I cannot contribute to this.
  108. I don't want to contribute to this.
  109. So, when I started to be
  110. able to decide for myself,
  111. I went to the university.
  112. I first made post-graduate studies,
  113. and I wrote a thesis
    called "Educating to Joy".
  114. What does "Educating to Joy" mean?
  115. I first discovered that joy
    is my passion today.
  116. And you wouldn't believe it,
  117. but I discovered that the word "joy",
    its etymology in Sanskrit is "Yuj".
  118. This means the link,
    it is a connection, a relation.
  119. It's beautiful!
  120. But what does being linked mean?
  121. What is being linked? I
    think it is very simple.
  122. I saw it in children,
    you experienced it too, I remember.
  123. My body memory told me,
  124. it was what I was experiencing while
    I was dancing and I watched the children,
  125. while they are drawing, playing,
    doing things they particularly like,
  126. they forget the world around them.
  127. They are so absorbed that you
    can call them for two hours,
  128. they can't hear you
    and they are learning without any fatigue.
  129. That's great.
  130. This relation takes me back
  131. to what I experienced
    when I was dancing without fatigue.
  132. It was to be in direct contact
  133. with the world, the sky, and the earth,
  134. with animals, flowers, people, with you.
  135. What does it have to do with education?
  136. A lot!
  137. Because imagine,
    if we based education on that,
  138. if we started from something
    that permaculture has already discovered;
  139. permaculture, you know,
    is an ecological science.
  140. Permaculture says,
    "Cultivate where it is already fertile."
  141. Can you imagine what it would
    mean to start being able to learn
  142. from our own richness and our treasure?
  143. Revolutionizing education.
  144. This would completely change the world.
  145. It would also mean learning
    without any fatigue.
  146. In the past, teachers,
    educators, philosophers,
  147. had already understood this:
    Montessori, Steiner, Freinet.
  148. They had understood,
    but they were not much listened to.
  149. The good news is, today,
    more and more educators,
  150. teachers, professors, parents,
  151. not only have taken over
    these predecessors
  152. but are inventing
    new educational practices.
  153. I assure you that I see
    many, many of them.
  154. These are people who invent new methods
  155. that are all based on the freedom
    and respect of the child's rhythm
  156. and the ability, their ability to dream.
  157. My own joy is to connect,
  158. to be in contact with this relation.
  159. This is why, with a group of people
    who still know how to dream,
  160. I founded an alliance,
  161. an alliance for the renewal of education
    which is called the Spring of Education.
  162. Because everything is already there,
    all we need to do is connect.
  163. This is educating to joy.
  164. After all, it is remembering
    Maria Montessori's words when she said,
  165. "Joy of learning is
    as essential as intelligence,
  166. as breathing is to runners and dancers!"
  167. (Applause)