What Adults Can Learn from Kids?

    来源: 2017-07-14
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Adora Svitak: What adults can learn from kids


燕山大学 刘立军 宋葳 编写


prodigy Adora Svitak says the world needs "childish" thinking: bold
ideas, wild creativity and especially optimism. Kids' big dreams deserve
high expectations, she says, starting with grownups' willingness to
learn from children as much as to teach.



1. imperialism
n. the fact of a powerful country increasing its influence over other
countries through business, culture, etc.
(商业、文化等向外国的)扩张;扩张主义。例如:cultural/economic imperialism 文化 / 经济扩张

2. colonization n. 殖民

3. segregation
n. the act or policy of separating people of different races, religions
or sexes and treating them in a different way
○ racial/religious segregation 种族 / 宗教隔离
○ segregation by age and sex 按照年龄和性别而实施的隔离

4. trait n. a particular quality in your personality (人的个性的)特征,特性,特点。例如:personality traits 个性特点
5. discriminatory n. unfair; treating sb. or one group of people worse than others 区别对待的;不公正的;歧视的。例如:
○ discriminatory practices/rules/measures 不公正的做法 / 规定 / 措施
○ sexually/racially discriminatory laws 性别 / 种族歧视性法律

6. hamper v. to prevent sb. from easily doing or achieving sth. 妨碍;阻止;阻碍

7. utopia n. an imaginary place or state in which everything is perfect 乌托邦;空想的完美境界

8. deplete v. to reduce sth. by a large amount so that there is not enough left 大量减少;耗尽;使枯竭。例如:
○ Food supplies were severely depleted. 食物供应已严重不足。

9. chaos n. a state of complete confusion and lack of order 混乱;杂乱;紊乱。例如:
○economic/political/domestic chaos 经济 / 政治 / 国内的混乱
○Heavy snow has caused total chaos on the roads. 大雪导致道路上交通一片混乱。
○The house was in chaos after the party. 聚会后,房子里一片狼藉。

10. audacity n. brave but rude or shocking behaviour 鲁莽;大胆无礼

11. go beyond sth.: to be more than sth. 超过(或超出)某事 exceed 例如:
○ This year's sales figures go beyond all our expectations (= are much better than we thought they would be). 今年的销售额大大超过我们的预期。

12. realm n. an area of activity, interest, or knowledge 领域;场所。例如:
○ in the realm of literature在文学领域内
○ At the end of the speech he seemed to be moving into the realms of fantasy. 讲话的最后,他似乎进入了虚幻的境地。

13. brokenhearted adj. 心碎的;伤心的 Someone who is broken-hearted is very sad and upset because they have had a serious disappointment.

14. analogy
n. the process of comparing one thing with another thing that
has similar features in order to explain it 类推;比拟。例如:learning by analogy

15. reciprocal adj. involving two people or groups who agree to help each other or behave in the same way to each other 互惠的;相应的。例如:
two colleges have a reciprocal arrangement whereby students from one
college can attend classes at the other. 两所学院有一项互惠协定,允许学生在院际间选课。

16. prevalent
adj. prevalent (among sb.) | prevalent (in sb./sth.): that exists or is
very common at a particular time or in a particular place 流行的;普遍存在的;盛行的
common, widespread 例如:
○ a prevalent view普遍的观点
○ These prejudices are particularly prevalent among people living in the North. 这些偏见在北方人中尤为常见。

17. regime n. a method or system of government, especially one that has not been elected in a fair way(尤指未通过公正选举的)统治方式,统治制度,政权,政体。例如:
○ a fascist/totalitarian/military, etc. regime 法西斯、极权主义、军事等政权
○ an oppressive/brutal regime 压迫民众的 / 残暴的政权

18. totalitarian
adj. (disapproving) (of a country or system of government 国家或政府体制) in
which there is only one political party that has complete power and
control over the people 极权主义的

19. heresy n. a belief or an opinion that disagrees strongly with what most people believe 离经叛道的信念(或观点)。例如:
○ The idea is heresy to most employees of the firm. 这种想法有悖于公司大多数员工的意见。

20. alienate v. to make sb. less friendly or sympathetic towards you 使疏远;使不友好;离间。例如:
○ His comments have alienated a lot of young voters. 他的言论使许多年轻选民离他而去。

21. rosy adj. likely to be good or successful 美好的;乐观的。 hopeful 例如:
○ The future is looking very rosy for our company. 我们公司的前景一片光明。

She painted a rosy picture of their life together in Italy (= made it
appear to be very good and perhaps better than it really was).

22. credentials n. credentials (as/for sth.): the qualities, training or experience that make you suitable to do sth. 资格;资历。例如:
○ He has all the credentials for the job. 他做这项工作完全够格。
○ She will first have to establish her leadership credentials. 她得首先证明她有担任领导的资格。

23. imperative adj.
imperative (that …) | imperative (to do sth.): (formal) very
important and needing immediate attention or action 重要紧急的;迫切的;急需处理的。例如:  
○ It is absolutely imperative that we finish by next week. 我们的当务之急是必须于下周完成。
○ It is imperative to continue the treatment for at least two months. 必须继续治疗至少两个月。

24. senile adj. behaving in a confused or strange way, and unable to remember things, because you are old 衰老的;年老糊涂的。例如:
○ I think she's going senile. 我想她是衰老了。

25. heirloom n. a valuable object that has belonged to the same family for many years 传家宝;世代相传之物。例如:a family heirloom 传家宝

Work in pairs and discuss the following question.

How adults learn differently than children?



Read the table. Then watch the video and complete the table with the words you hear.



What adults can learn from kids



For kids like me, being called childish can be (1) ______________.



Example 1: Every time we make irrational demands, exhibit irresponsible behavior, or display any other signs of being normal American citizens, we are called (2) __________________.



Example 2: Take a look at these events: Imperialism and colonization, world wars, George W. Bush. Ask yourself, who’s responsible? (3) _________________.



Example 1: Anne Frank touched millions with her powerful account of the Holocaust.



Example 2: Ruby Bridges helped to end segregation in the United States.



Example 3: Charlie Simpson helped to raise 120,000 pounds for Haiti on his little bike.



So as you can see evidenced by such examples, age has absolutely nothing to do with it. The traits the word “childish” addresses are seen so often in adults, that we should (4) ___________ this age-discriminatory word, when it comes to criticizing behavior associated with (5) ______________ and (6) _________________.


Main point 1: bold ideas

The world needs certain types of irrational thinking.



Sub-point 1: Kids can be full of (7) ________________________.



Sub-point 2: We kids still dream about (8) __________________.


Main point 2: wild creativity

Our audacity to imagine helps push the boundaries of possibility.



Example: The Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington


Main point 3: optimism

New generations and new eras grow and develop and become better than the previous ones.



Sub-point 1: Our inherent (9) _________________ doesn’t have to be insider’s knowledge.



Sub-point 2: If you don’t trust someone, you place (10) _________ on them.



Supporting detail: Withhold my old sisters ability to get more money from me



Sub-point 3: Adults seem to have a prevalently restrictive attitude towards kids.



Supporting detail: Dont do that, dont do this in the school handbook; restrictions on school Internet use.



Sub-point 4: Adults often (11) _________________ kids’ abilities.



Supporting detail: the publishing experience of Flying Fingers



Adults and fellow TEDsters need to (12) _________________, and (13) ______________________________________.



The world needs (14) ______________ for new leaders and new ideas. Kids need opportunities to (15) ______________________.


TASK 4: Discussion
Work in group and discuss the following question.

What do you think of the speaker?




As far as I can see, adults learn differently than children in the following ways.
○ Children are more open to adopting and accepting new ideas.
○ Children absorb new information quickly.
○ Adults tend to be more set in their ways, the older they are, the probably they are.
○ Many adults find it difficult to absorb or even to remember new information.



1. a frequent occurrence
2. childish
3. Adults
4. abolish
5. irresponsibility
6. irrational thinking
7. inspiring aspirations and hopeful thinking
8. perfection
9. wisdom
10. restrictions
11. underestimate
12. listen and learn from kids
13. trust us and expect more from us
14. opportunities
15. lead and succeed



am proud of the speaker! As a girl of 12, she's bold, unencumbered,
ambitious, insightful, articulate, humorous, and challenges the status
quo. I'm thrilled that we have a world now that could birth her and that
she exists to show us how far we've come and give us her vision for the
future. However, I think Adora's story also shows us that encouraging
our children to write and begin to synthesize their thoughts at an
earlier age is also very powerful and will empower them. I didn't start
keeping a regular journal until I was around 11 or 12. When I was a
child, I didn't have access to a personal computer to capture my
thoughts as fast as my fingers could type them. I wish that I had
started writing regularly earlier in my life now and plan to encourage
other young children to do so.


Adora Svitak: What Adults Can Learn from Kids

I want to start with a question: When was the last time you were called
childish? For kids like me, being called childish can be a frequent
occurrence. Every time we make irrational demands, exhibit irresponsible
behavior, or display any other signs of being normal American citizens,
we are called childish, which really bothers me. After all, take a look
at these events: imperialism and colonization, world wars, George W.
Bush. Ask yourself: Who's responsible? Adults.

Now, what have
kids done? Well, Anne Frank touched millions with her powerful account
of the Holocaust, Ruby Bridges helped end segregation in the United
States, and, most recently, Charlie Simpson helped to raise 120,000
pounds for Haiti on his little bike. So, as you can see evidenced by
such examples, age has absolutely nothing to do with it. The traits the
word childish addresses are seen so often in adults that we should
abolish this age-discriminatory word when it comes to criticizing
behavior associated with irresponsibility and irrational thinking.


Thank you.

again, who's to say that certain types of irrational thinking aren't
exactly what the world needs? Maybe you've had grand plans before, but
stopped yourself, thinking: That's impossible or that costs too much or
that won't benefit me. For better or worse, we kids aren't hampered as
much when it comes to thinking about reasons why not to do things. Kids
can be full of inspiring aspirations and hopeful thinking, like my wish
that no one went hungry or that everything were free kind of utopia. How
many of you still dream like that and believe in the possibilities?
Sometimes, a knowledge of history and the past failures of utopian
ideals can be a burden because you know that if everything were free,
that the food stocks would become depleted, and scarce and lead to
chaos. On the other hand, we kids still dream about perfection. And
that's a good thing because in order to make anything a reality, you
have to dream about it first.

In many ways, our audacity to
imagine helps push the boundaries of possibility. For instance, the
Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington, my home state - yoohoo Washington
- (Applause) has a program called Kids Design Glass, and kids draw
their own ideas for glass art. Now, the resident artist said they got
some of their best ideas through the program because kids don't think
about the limitations of how hard it can be to blow glass into certain
shapes. They just think of good ideas. Now, when you think of glass, you
might think of colorful Chihuly designs or maybe Italian vases, but
kids challenge glass artists to go beyond that into the realm of
broken-hearted snakes and bacon boys, who you can see has meat vision.

Now, our inherent wisdom doesn't have to be insiders'
knowledge. Kids already do a lot of learning from adults, and we have a
lot to share. I think that adults should start learning from kids. Now,
I do most of my speaking in front of an education crowd, teachers and
students, and I like this analogy. It shouldn't just be a teacher at the
head of the classroom telling students do this, do that. The students
should teach their teachers. Learning between grown-ups and kids should
be reciprocal. The reality, unfortunately, is a little different, and it
has a lot to do with trust, or a lack of it.

Now, if you don't
trust someone, you place restrictions on them, right. If I doubt my
older sister's ability to pay back the 10 percent interest I established
on her last loan, I'm going to withhold her ability to get more money
from me until she pays it back. (Laughter) True story, by the way. Now,
adults seem to have a prevalently restrictive attitude towards kids from
every "don't do that," "don't do this" in the school handbook, to
restrictions on school internet use. As history points out, regimes
become oppressive when they're fearful about keeping control. And,
although adults may not be quite at the level of totalitarian regimes,
kids have no, or very little, say in making the rules, when really the
attitude should be reciprocal, meaning that the adult population should
learn and take into account the wishes of the younger population.

what's even worse than restriction is that adults often underestimate
kids' abilities. We love challenges, but when expectations are low,
trust me, we will sink to them. My own parents had anything but low
expectations for me and my sister. Okay, so they didn't tell us to
become doctors or lawyers or anything like that, but my dad did read to
us about Aristotle and pioneer germ fighters when lots of other kids
were hearing "The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round." Well, we heard
that one too, but "Pioneer Germ Fighters" totally rules. (Laughter)

loved to write from the age of four, and when I was six my mom bought
me my own laptop equipped with Microsoft Word. Thank you Bill Gates, and
thank you Ma. I wrote over 300 short stories on that little laptop, and
I wanted to get published. Instead of just scoffing at this heresy that
a kid wanted to get published, or saying wait until you're older, my
parents were really supportive. Many publishers were not quite so
encouraging. One large children's publisher ironically saying that they
didn't work with children. Children's publisher not working with
children? I don't know, you're kind of alienating a large client there.
(Laughter) Now, one publisher, Action Publishing, was willing to take
that leap and trust me, and to listen to what I had to say. They
published my first book, "Flying Fingers," - you see it here - and from
there on, it's gone to speaking at hundreds of schools, keynoting to
thousands of educators, and finally, today, speaking to you.

appreciate your attention today, because to show that you truly care,
you listen. But there's a problem with this rosy picture of kids being
so much better than adults. Kids grow up and become adults just like
you. (Laughter) Or just like you, really? The goal is not to turn kids
into your kind of adult, but rather better adults than you have been,
which may be a little challenging considering your guys credentials, but
the way progress happens is because new generations and new eras grow
and develop and become better than the previous ones. It's the reason
we're not in the Dark Ages anymore. No matter your position of place in
life, it is imperative to create opportunities for children so that we
can grow up to blow you away. (Laughter)

Adults and fellow
TEDsters, you need to listen and learn from kids and trust us and expect
more from us. You must lend an ear today, because we are the leaders of
tomorrow, which means we're going to be taking care of you when you're
old and senile. No, just kidding. No, really, we are going to be the
next generation, the ones who will bring this world forward. And, in
case you don't think that this really has meaning for you, remember that
cloning is possible, and that involves going through childhood again,
in which case, you'll want to be heard just like my generation. Now, the
world needs opportunities for new leaders and new ideas. Kids need
opportunities to lead and succeed. Are you ready to make the match?
Because the world's problems shouldn't be the human family's heirloom.

Thank you. (Applause) Thank you. Thank you.
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