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Over the last 10-years, Gever Tulley has become a very influential figure in education, even though he has no formal training. Gever is a self-taught computer scientist and that process may have been the impetus for his journey ahead. He's spent years thinking, talking and learning about the way that we learn.
The Birth Of Tinkering School
In 2005, Gever started Tinkering School, a week-long camp designed to give children a space where they can learn, make mistakes and be trusted with tools. The children work with each other and a team who assist and empower them to create amazing projects. Importantly, there are no rules, and as little adult intervention as possible. Tinkering School participants have built impressive three-story tree houses, rope bridges made from recycled plastic bags, and even a fully working roller coaster.
The children learn through doing, and are forced to solve problems and develop resilience. They learn how to make friends and develop the practical skills needed to design and build things.
Tinkering School runs on three major principles which we absolutely love.
1) Kids are more capable than they know.
If you trust children and give them the time and space to learn from mistakes, they will learn from them. By giving children real tools, they are empowered to make, learn and do for themselves.
2) The freedom to fail is essential.
Following instructions is easy, but kids also need to learn how to think through problems. Every project is bound to have setbacks. By providing a failure-positive atmosphere, children can play in the face of adversity.
3) If it has already been done, it can be done bolder and better
Every week is different, every project is different, and because there are no rules, plans or guidelines, it's all up to the children. The only thing they need to do is think big, and make it happen.
Teaching people how to teach
Through running Tinkering School, Tulley has had a rare insight into the way kids learn and behave when trusted and empowered. Through this he has become an advocate for a more explorative style of learning. Tulley has given two extremely popular TED talks, including "5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do". He's even started his own school called Brightworks, which aims to reimagine education and provide a more hands-on, project-based learning experience.
Want to learn more about how hands-on activities like fixing can teach you valuable life skills? Check out our blog.