A Role Model in Education- Barbara Coloroso

(Barbara Coloroso)

I first heard of Barbara Coloroso in my third year of university in ESST 390AA class- Teaching Engaged Citizenship: Social Studies and Social/Environmental Activism.  During this class, we watched Barabara Coloroso’s video presentation called, How to Win at Teaching Without Beating Your Kids (scrolling to the bottom will allow you to click on a short clip of this presentation).  Barbara Coloroso is an educator and public speaker that I absolutely loved listening to.  She offers so many wise suggestions and extremely valid points in regards to teaching.

The biggest and most important thing that I learned from watching the full video is to help students to think for themselves.  I think that this is an extremely important thing to do in teaching- it will help students to think critically, problem solve, and hopefully be their own person. 

Encouraging students to think for themselves is an important skill for them to develop.  Even though it may solve our problems or make things a bit easier at times for us as teachers to simply tell a child what to do or how to fix a problem, it may not actually teach them anything.  However, doing this in a positive, supportive, and safe environment is completely necessary.  As Barbara says in the clip, you have to intervene if a situation is life threatening. 

I think that teaching children to think for themselves, is a great overall summary of the goal of education.  While it is still essential to teach the curriculum, I think that it is equally important to help children develop skills that they can transfer into their lives- life skills.  Having children that are able to think critically is a major thing that needs to happen so that when they grow up, they will be able to make their own decisions and not take everything at face value.  It will encourage them to consider alternatives and look for other perspectives.   Problem is a key life skill for getting through life.  Children need to learn to be resourceful, to compromise, and consider as many different solutions to a problem as possible.  This will also help them to understand that sometimes there is more than one right answer and more than one way to do something, which is important to understand in many different situations in life.  Finally, teaching a student to think for themselves will enable them to be their own person because they will know how to think critically and problem solve, so they will be able to make good decisions and stand up for themself.  As a result, hopefully children will be leaders instead of followers. 

My favourite line that Barbara says in the short clip is, “Allow them to experience the consequences for the choices they’ve made.”  She stresses the importance of offering choices, so that children can take ownership of their actions.  I completely agree with Barbara on this point.  Going along with the idea of teaching children to think for themselves- thinking critically, problem solving, and being their own person- will encourage them to take responsibility for themselves in society.  My question is, what are appropriate consequences that can be done in school?

Overall, I really enjoy Barbara Coloroso’s presentation- she makes sense, uses common sense, and puts things in a way that I can relate to.  I very highly recommend that all teachers watch or listen to this presentation in full- it offers many ideas that are definitely worth thinking about!


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