Carolina Perez a young advocate for education heard about HundrED through Jordy Angel Coldwell, director of the film, Student Voice. Carolina was interviewed in the movie and further was invited to join the Youth Academy to review the HundrED 2019 global innovation collection. She believes that educators must give young people the voice that is often cut from society. This interview is from the 2018 HundrED Innovation Summit and has been edited for better readability.
What is currently holding students back from becoming active agents in their education?
I think for one part it might be that usually, education systems pretend that young people are not mature enough to make their own decisions. This thought might hold many people back from believing that students have the power to think of creative and innovative ideas. On the other hand, the social belief that youth is not prepared just because they don’t have (adequate) life experiences stops young students from taking charge. But how can you get that life experience if your teachers and educators aren’t ready to provide you with such experiences and you are not able to make the most out of what they give you?
What advice would you give to students who want to get more involved in taking charge of their learning?
First of all, try to analyze the best ways that work for you when it comes to learning. For example, if it is through games, or something visual or musical. Basically, reflect on the different types of learning and choose the one that works for you. Also, having a lot of empathy is important- for the teachers and for other students, and realizing that everyone is different. There is no one model to achieve in education but what is more important is to know that complaining about the system doesn’t lead to anything. What you need to realize is your role as an individual as well as a part of (en education) community.
What can educators do to help empower students?
Educators have to be a guide for their students but also advise them on what is best for them. This is a confusing question because how much can an educator get involved in a student’s life? At some point you ask yourself as an educator, do I guide this student and in which direction.? Is it right that I am leading a student in one direction and not letting him choose other options? So that’s a really hard question to answer and I really think it depends on the context and how the educator understands his profession and what is his personality is. I don’t think there is a clear answer to this question.
What would you say to other young people who are interested in becoming a HundrED Youth Ambassador?
I would say - Yeah! Do it. It is definitely worth it and you learn so much. You get to see both sides of education - from learning to teaching, which is both important. We say that teachers must take account of students and realize how each one learns. But we as students have to be aware of how difficult it is for teachers too - to actually teach in a proper way and that works for different students. Youth Ambassador is exceptional in this way where you can learn about multiple ways of learning & teaching.
Learn more about the HundrED Youth Ambassadors program here.