Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Replay: 826 Valencia

[Originally Posted on April 7, 2009]

"What we really need is just more people, more bodies, more one-on-one attention, more hours, more expertise from people that have skills in English and can work with these students one-on-one."

This is what Dave Eggers kept hearing from his friends who were teachers. They could see that their efforts during the school day were not sufficient- they felt like they were fighting a losing battle.

But Eggers, whose novel A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius was a finalist for the Pulitzer prize, realized his life was full of the kinds of people ("writers, editors, journalists, graduate students, assistant professors") who could help improve the literacy skills of students outside of school hours.

In the TED Talk featured below, Eggers tells the story of 826 Valencia, the tutoring center that arose from this insight. Eggers is not an educator, but he seems to have understood intuitively what educators know about the importance of building community, connecting with families, providing one-on-one attention, creating real products, and bringing together learners with various levels of expertise.

Check out Dave's talk, and let us know what you think!

Further Reading