The Power of Belief

The Power of Belief

'A guidance counselor did not believe in my ability to succeed.
She tried to convince my mother and father that I could never do well.
I barely got out of high school….'

Every child is entitled to academic success, regardless of cultural, economic, and ethnic roots.

By Eric Cooper, Ph. D. | TEDxBirlaPublicSchool | Published on October 28, 2014

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Dr. Eric Cooper is a firm believer in a phrase that many don’t take very seriously anymore: “No child left behind.” In this heart wrenching and invigorating talk, Dr. Cooper contends that every child is entitled to academic success, regardless of cultural, economic, and ethnic roots.

Dr. Eric Cooper – former associate professor at Columbia University – is a leading US educator and the founder president of the National Urban Alliance – a critically acclaimed education organisation.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

For Transcript (Click on the button)

0:05my name is Eric Cooper
0:06I’m an african-american I grew up in a country that I love when I was asked to
0:13come to give the TED talk
0:15today I came gladly primarily because
0:18it’s a hundred forty-fifth birthday Mahatma Gandhi
0:21why that is so special from information be
0:25obvious I’m a black American is the hot guys have gone day
0:30that our country was changed he lifted up
0:34leaders from the 1930s through to Martin Luther King
0:38and many others he lifted up a world because
0:42it was the civil rights movement that open up parts in mind
0:46the fight against racism stereotypes
0:51putting people at the various categories lifted up
0:55another nation South Africa a shirt that I proudly wear today
0:59for this honor where he lived for a while which led to nelson mandela
1:04and reconciliation my speech today
1:08i te talk his call the power belief
1:12social democracy is not destiny
1:15and one start with my own personal narrative who I am and where I grew up
1:19make point share an idea
1:23that I feel is given to short shrift
1:27in this world today as i travel around the world and give speeches to large
1:32I’m often lifted up by the hope and that we knew belief
1:37that I feel I’m an educator I’m a dad
1:40I’m someone who believes in the capacity
1:44up all people I’m someone who believes that every single one of us
1:48has a unique talent my journey
1:51I like journey began in peekskill new york
1:54peekskill new york is a little town
1:57northeast have new york city about 38 miles
2:01when I was a child I used to run down defense tree
2:04packing my little brother along with me he could hardly keep up
2:08rundown oxide elementary school was part of
2:13a school community that many people
2:16believed many the teachers believed
2:19in the children taser but there are some that did not
2:22remember reading teacher she’s a wonderful teacher
2:26she had this idea
2:29that you need to categorize in separate kids in terms reading level of
2:33there where the Robins we sorta like
2:37in between there was a baltimore orioles
2:40who are the high achievers that was our favorite bird and then there were the
2:45that was my category the newer the buzzards
2:50I was somebody children sadly you could not read it at all
2:54peekskill also was known for it
2:57racial riots in 1949 where
3:01Paul ropes in the crate african-american athlete and singer
3:06met with the wonderful wonderful activists
3:10and folk singer Pete Seeger and a place where my family’s
3:13take us to the Holly Brook Drive in theatre where
3:17during that time these people marched
3:21the KKK or who Klux Klan
3:25I had friends whose fathers marched under those sheets
3:30who are arguing against equal rights and equal opportunity for all people in
3:36african-americans peekskill with the police
3:41and people at the Holly Brook theater turned against
3:44african-americans and the people who were there peekskill new york
3:49a place where racism was a life
3:52but a place for people also wanted to see change there many progressives there
3:57are many people who
3:58really believed in all kits out I might have been in the Blackbirds
4:03always cracks me up the affiliation
4:07steel to that bird but I also
4:10somebody where a guidance counselor did not believe in my ability to succeed
4:15she tried to convince my mother and father that I could never do well
4:19in college and university I graduated from high school
4:24i SAT scores were lousy
4:26IQ GPA was about a 72 I barely got out of high school
4:31I try to get into many different colleges and universities
4:35but I could not and the only place that accepted me was a place called Dutchess
4:40Community College in pic
4:41tipsy New York upstate a few miles from
4:45where I lived in pics go I got into the school
4:49my first semester and outs do it some talking to you my first semester I got a
4:54point 80
4:56at a4 I failed almost every single one of my questions
4:59except for band ride it very well I gotta pee
5:04because it migrates because my behavior
5:07I got kicked at Dutchess Community College along with several other friends
5:11well my mother heard that I got kicked out she cried as
5:15my father did my mother always would run into
5:19this town in peekskill into the guidance counselor and got his castle left my
5:23how they’re doing when I first got into a school she said proudly
5:28happy he got into a two-year school when when
5:31when I got kicked out she walked across the street to avoid her
5:34you always run into people peekskill new york peekskill new york in my guidance
5:41my father arguing for me any teacher a biology teacher who happened to be
5:46my wrestling coach argued to get me back
5:51into the school through the Dean and he said to the Dean I reiterate
5:55Eric has the capacity to succeeding in higher education
5:59heard that word reiterate two beautiful already know what it meant
6:05I heard the word I thought it was beautiful impact a dictionary and I
6:08found out what it was
6:09there began my love
6:12for vocabulary there began my interest to explore
6:17education to its fullest because the teacher believed in me
6:20who just happened to be way mister barnett he believed in this
6:24african-americans child who grew up in a family that was struggling with poverty
6:28he believed in my ability use my mind in a way
6:32that I could see a pathway to a better future
6:35I left that system Community College after five semesters
6:39how long it took me and went to a place called the Universidad de las Americas
6:43in to see that they may he co
6:45continue Puerto Plata en espanol learn how to speak Spanish
6:48I study but some in the Giants Erich Fromm in Yvonne ily its
6:52could not wait my mother ran into that guidance counselor
6:56my mother did my mother
7:01met her the question came out how they’re doing
7:04was interested in the city my mother told her I got into a school outside the
7:10country and
7:10she turned guidance counselor turn to a friend and said well anybody can get
7:15a committee into a university outside the country
7:18at this point you gotta understand that this guidance counselor is starting to
7:22motivate me
7:22sexy I absolutely had to show her wrong so I left
7:28Universitat that awesome eric s universe the Americas
7:31and a year and I enrolled and the City University of New York
7:35Richmond college time I gotta be a
7:38in psychology I graduated I asked my mother this particular question
7:42where this guidance counselor get her master’s because I knew she had a
7:47I’m others that Columbia University’s Teachers College and I said mom
7:51that’s where I’m going he said why
7:55much a pic simply something else that’s
7:58an easier school I said I’m going there because they have something to prove
8:01when Saturday
8:05I had to take something called the Miller analogies test the m80
8:09Saturday in New York City 21-year-old
8:14can you imagine you get story
8:17a Saturday first question I got
8:21on this Miller analogies test crewing
8:25is to the Charles as boating
8:28is to I know friend
8:31my friend’s name Charles crewing must meet a crewcut
8:36I got the worst exam I think
8:39in history com University in terms Miller analogies test
8:44but something happen I ran into a teacher
8:47a professor his name was pretty on E
8:51just happened to be an italian-american and I ran into
8:54a woman her name was dark the Strickland who just happened to be a professor
8:58with african-american they believed in me
9:01they lifted me up they got me to rethink
9:05my ability EC I was struggling against the stereotypes
9:10that were projected ought to be because I it growing up in poverty
9:13and I was black house struggling against
9:16the the need to feel accepted within my community
9:19I was struggling against the stereotypes that would keep me down
9:23because it how I look by the fact that a friend said to me one day when the
9:28went to the kids at the parent who is marching around in those sheets
9:33racist he said to me Peter said to me one day
9:36he said Eric was good too got was prepared because he had a little white
9:40paint left over for him
9:42I cried that time when he told me because I was crying for my doctor
9:47and knows who I believe in I met
9:51Columbia University now I’m beginning to believe in myself
9:56and I ran into the hallways i’ve a cognitive psychologist name
10:01reuven Warriors team this is important I met him in those halls as a gas hoses
10:08column University Andrew been taught me taught me in a class one time
10:13had no one knows a capacity at the child
10:16no one except guy
10:19reuven talk to me about his work with kids
10:24who were born with Down syndrome you know were lying
10:28wanted his students had reported IQ
10:32upset the two who had Down syndrome she worked with Ruben for three years
10:38in this methodology she graduate with a PHD
10:43and is now a practicing clinical psychologists
10:46riveted one other thing he hired plastic surgeons change the look
10:52some of his Down syndrome kids
10:57every single child and parents had accepted that plastic surgery where he
11:01found a funding
11:02where he was able to change your look out
11:06distance succeeded those who did not have that
11:09you see we project belief from what we say
11:13I graduated
11:17got my masters got a second masters
11:21and I asked my mother that guidance counselor forget it
11:24doctorate my mother said now I’m gonna get my mother pleaded with me not to go
11:30that far yet
11:31done so well air I got that doctrine because professors who believed in me
11:37and I did very well when I graduated
11:40I could not wait to my mother ran into that guidance counselor
11:44and she did possesses peekskill new york little town
11:48yes the question that’s your always asked what she saw my mother
11:52I was there doing mother sit proudly
11:56homeowner 5-foot-1 frame looked her in the eye as best she couldn’t said
12:01my son is the first one in my family
12:04to get a doctorate and you know the guidance counselor said
12:08I always knew Eric had it in him the brain
12:14the mine we now know from neuroscience that there’s approximately
12:19a six billion or runs up here sixteen billion or aunt is with separate us from
12:25other primates which is primarily in the cerebral cortex
12:28in the human mind
12:32in a lifetime approximately a hundred
12:36trillion neural connections can be made me
12:40that exciting because I’m poll I’ve read
12:43I’ve heard that’s more particles
12:47then the particles in the universe we take in approximately 11 million
12:54every single minute from a visual cortex are editorial cortex
12:58anderson et sensory cortex eleven million
13:02s in one minute the point of this is to say
13:07is really critical in terms of how we were able to get children students
13:11on direct pathway belief was critical for me I had to change my belief
13:16I had to begin to rethink that I have control
13:21cognitive control of my own mine do the effort
13:24and resilience and no work I played two
13:27a sustained effort Idris their actions research says it takes about
13:3110,000 hours a sustained delivery practice
13:35becoming experience you liked about a year and a half or a little more
13:39belief importantly
13:43animates which is called hope
13:46will spend a little time without hope because we always talk about a pick up
13:50the paper
13:51on on TV are in the media everybody’s talking about we need to be more hopeful
13:56we’d be we’re hopeful about the world no matter the challenges
13:59and the struggles that we go through hope
14:02hope it’s critical the two primary component up hope
14:08our belief and expectations if we can now I
14:12beliefs and expectations for all children who are born
14:15under God’s eye with unique talent gift that just needs to be embraced and let
14:20and develop and nourished you’re feeling
14:23and that sustainability that we know is necessary
14:27in terms of deepening human capital children with their arms up in the air
14:34african-american children someone who had met in South Africa sum up we see
14:39in the ghettos a bit rate I know we can be for all things children
14:43hope hope I know how important hope is to our
14:48health as organisms walking on this earth hope
14:51your own group in a Harvard has taught us through a wonderful book
14:56call the anatomy of hope that there’s an authentic biology to hope
15:00hope if a child or an individual is talk to be hopeful that person is
15:06healthy group been found with
15:10in medical research at Harvard with his patients that were suffering from cancer
15:14that if you able to help them become more hopeful
15:17that the brain inmates something called endorphins and Intel plans
15:21which have analgesic qualities which can help the organism
15:24grow more healthy and he found that those patients
15:28who were talked to be we’re hopeful developed and live
15:32longer lasting II hope
15:35hope that come from that embrace
15:38you know what happens with that embrace you know what happens with that embrace
15:43it hopes the day fist pumping I walked into the school today announced it
15:48bumping every single student I met high-fiving them
15:51giving him a hug when it was appropriate because when
15:55you are hugging when you are developing a trusting relationship
15:59with a fellow human being you enabling that individual
16:03to release the neuro- transmitter that call %uh tito since
16:07which are produced by the hypothalamic which are narrow transmitter that helps
16:12create trusting relationships it’s called the trust
16:15molecule the relationship molecule or the love molecule or the government bad
16:22tito since Nero neuroscientist ETS so much
16:26about what can be to hug your children that nor on
16:29was $86 billion or aunts are firing all the time
16:34what we need to do is unable that them
16:37strew a new definition intelligence which is so critical
16:42intelligence is not just what you know
16:45but what you do when you don’t know what to do it’s how you were able to bridge
16:50that gap between the known and the unknown
16:52it’s a recognition that that in terms
16:55ok with in each race that prior knowledge
16:59is the most important predictor affix s
17:02if students are denied exposure
17:05so that prior knowledge is developed even though they’re taking in eleven
17:09you know datasets every minute if we deny them
17:14and stereotype them and say well you are not capable because
17:18you are struggling with poverty or you’re not white
17:21we will not sustain
17:24this world hope
17:30sock-b_ Socrates
17:33by the way he was put by African philosophers before him he learned from
17:38so the African philosophers predated Socrates
17:42Socrates said something really critical talk really said that
17:46education should be about unleashing uncovering
17:50enabling pulling out the drawing out
17:53up knowledge that’s already there within the individual
17:56portent when a leader
18:00teacher act as a mentor with the child
18:03it’s important because children become animated by the hope
18:07the belief that is being generated it’s important because we begin to understand
18:12but hope which Aristotle student Plato called
18:16hope is that a waking dream it’s important to know
18:19that within each race
18:23it is only prior knowledge so what we do to provide the exposure rickets
18:27is more important and it’s not just a knowledge base that’s important
18:31it is a deep understanding as Plato said
18:35that knowledge is a continuous rediscovery up our own insights
18:39if that is true and I believe it is true
18:42then we as educators as parents
18:45as nations must begin to uncover that human capacity
18:49that exist within all of us learn all this
18:53is a great quote that align with because it captures it
18:59captures it for me
19:05we should think up our children as wildflower seeds
19:08and unmarked package week at No what will emerge
19:12all we can do is plant them infertile so I’ll
19:15give them plenty of water and sunlight and we patiently to see the neatness
19:19up their beauty a quote was from when the mobile clinic
19:24renown clinical psychologist the point my speech
19:28has been following and it’s an idea that I think should be spread
19:32because to often in this world in pockets that exist
19:36in a school community children are being relegated
19:39not developed a unique talent but the fit a category
19:43that we as adults have created for them let us stop
19:47at this moment learning from neuroscience and decide that we are the
19:51future for those children
19:52and they are the future for us and that is an idea
19:56I think as we’re sharing it with the world thank you very much

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