Education

TED Radio Hour presents “Unstoppable Learning”

Unstoppable-LearningOur minds and bodies constantly master lessons from our surroundings. In other words, we seem to have a natural inclination to learn. That is the idea behind this week’s TED Radio Hour: “Unstoppable Learning,” brought to you by NPR. This episode explores that dynamic experience of learning that begins in the womb and how recognizing this essential nature will revolutionize the way we teach.

What happens when you stick a computer in a wall, three feet off the ground, in a slum without so much as running water? “Unstoppable Learning” kicks off with TED Prize winner Sugata Mitra, who found that he had stumbled upon a new method of education — self-directed, with no adults around. He found that the children in the slum, who had little access to education, were able to teach themselves English and even biology just from a computer.

In the next segment, science writer Annie Murphy Paul asks, “When does learning begin?” She shares a startling answer: that learning begins not in preschool or kindergarten, but in the womb. Alison Gopnik then continues to examine the learning that happens during infancy — she finds that despite the drooling and baby talk, these little ones may in fact be geniuses.

Finally, teacher Rita Pierson — the star of today’s talk — expresses the value of establishing strong relationships between student and educator. This begins by being a positive presence, constantly inspiring students to look towards their potential. On Tuesday, May 7, this inspiring teacher will also appear in TED Talks Education — our first televised special — alongside Sir Ken Robinson and Geoffrey Canada. Make sure to tune in to PBS at 10/9c to see her in action.

To hear TED Radio Hour’s “Unstoppable Learning,” check your local NPR schedule to find out when the show airs today. Or listen to it via NPR’s website »

Head to iTunes, where the podcast is available now »