Education expert Erika Twani says the role of public schools is an important factor in the battle to reduce school shootings and crime in America as she advocates an increase in "relational learning", including teaching life skills, to help improve outcomes for many students.
Author of Becoming Einstein’s Teacher: Awakening the Genius in Your Students, and co-founder and CEO of Learning One to One, Twani explores ways to foster human achievement through education. Before co-founding Learning One to One, Erika was Microsoft’s education industry director for Multi-Country Americas. She is today's guest on the Lean to the Left podcast.
"We must respect the benefits that every child has," says Twani, who points out that in most schools today students spend thousands of hours learning how to follow instructions. "But when they are adults, there are no instructions to follow so they get lost. What's next is crime because they have no other option. That's why it is so important for us to be teaching life skills."
That, in a nutshell, is what "relational learning" is all about. Her philosophy is to simplify complex concepts and make them useful for everyone, starting with children. To do so, she uses insights and skills from her 20+ years of experience working with corporate technology companies shaping products and services for worldwide scalability.
Twani has advised government officials and education leaders around the world on the use of technology in education, and has worked with public and private schools to guide the practical use of relational learning. She led Learning One to One into five countries in the first year alone, touching the lives of more than 100,000 students.
In this episode of the Lean to the Left podcast, Twani notes that many school shootings are caused by individuals who are lashing out after being bullied in school, and so, she contends, such shootings could be avoided if schools would do more to control bullying and increase self esteem of vulnerable students who often turn into shooters.
She says that rather than banning books about such topics as race and sexuality, educators should work on developing critical thinking skills so that students, who already have instant access to information, can think for themselves and be prepared for life.
Moreover, Twani suggests that instead of banning abortion, which often involves teenage girls with unplanned pregnancies, a better step would be to reduce pregnancies in the first place -- such as providing condoms in school. In Colorado, she says, this has reduced teen pregnancies by 40 percent and abortions by 42 percent.
Take a listen to the interview.