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13-year-old: ‘What if we based education on the study and practice of being happy and healthy?’ Logan LaPlante  (Tedxuniversityofnevada)

A 13-year-old boy named Logan LaPlante gave a talk at a TEDx conference at the University of Nevada last year that now has more than 4 million views on YouTube. The speech is about his unusual method of becoming educated through a process he calls “hackschooling.”

Logan’s parents pulled him out of traditional school at the age of 9 — despite warnings from their friends that it was a mistake — and allowed him to experiment with learning online, pursuing subjects that he found interesting. What he discovered, he said, is that when students are motivated to learn something, they do it very quickly. While he didn’t like writing in traditional school about subjects his teachers wanted him to write about — such as butterflies and rainbows — he enjoyed writing when he could probe a subject he loves, skiing. In fact, he has found that his coursework is a lot like that in traditional schools — math, science, history and writing. But, he said, it is much more interesting.

“Once you are motivated to learn something, you can get a lot done in a short amount of time and on your own,” he said.

 This approach may not work for a lot of kids, but there is something in the notion that kids will learn better when they are interested — and a great deal of what kids learn in school is, to them, deadly dull.

Here’s some of Logan’s speech, and then the video:

What bums me out is that a lot of kids today are just wishing to be happy, to be healthy, to be safe, not bullied and loved for who they are. So it seems to be me that when adults say, “‘What do you want to be when you grow up?” they just assume that you will automatically be happy and healthy.   But maybe that’s just not the case. “Go to school. Go to college. Get a job. Get married. Boom. Then you will be happy.” Right?  We don’t seem to make learning how to be happy and healthy a priority in our schools. It separate from school. And for some kids it doesn’t exist at all…

What if we based education on the study and practice of being happy and healthy. Because that is what it is. A practice … Why is being happy and healthy not considered education? I just don’t get it.


Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.



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Valerie Strauss · January 25, 2014

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