Arel Moodie delivers a fascinating talk on one of the most important life lessons he’s learned: You don’t have to be the smartest or most skilled to become successful. The secret, effort.

Arel Moodie is a bestselling author and has been a featured speaker at the White House and acknowledged by President Obama.
Inc. Magazine called him a “High-Energy,Motivator” and named him to their “30 Under 30 list” of top entrepreneurs joining people like Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook.
Essence Magazine said “He should be the poster boy for rags-to-riches stories… he is America’s Top Young Speaker.”
After college, Arel built a million dollar event production and Education Company while in his 20s and now as a professional speaker he has spoken to over 400,000 people in 48 states and 5 countries.

For fun, our speaker likes to dance; he has performed at Madison Square Garden and Arel has two viral videos that have millions of views, and one of them was even featured on The Ellen Show!

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at
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We often talk about what it means to move from compliance to engagement.

It’s the idea of creating an environment where students want to learn rather than have to learn. 

But if we want students to be creative, self-directed learners we need to go beyond student engagement and into empowerment. 

But this requires some paradigm shifts. 

That’s right. We’re going to be talking shift. 

Here’s what I mean:

The empowered classroom is a shift from giving choices to inspiring possibilities

It’s what happens when you move from making the subject interesting to tapping into student interests; when you go from saying “you must learn this” to asking “what do you want to learn?”  

It’s a shift from taking assessments to assessing your own learning, it’s an iterative process full of mistakes that ultimately lead to success.
It’s a shift from the teacher asking all the questions to the students asking their own questions, where they chase the inquiry process and take learning off-road.

It’s a shift from uncritical consuming to critical consuming and creating. Here students move from critical consuming to inspiration to creativity, where they use the design process to launch their work to the world.

It’s a shift from differentiating instruction to personalizing learning 

And it’s a shift from rigid to adjustable systems so that students own the process. They can set their own pace, choose their own formats, and decide what resources they want to use to accomplish their goals. 

It’s a shift in mindset from compliance to self-direction. 

In other words, it’s a shift toward student ownership.

When that happens, our students become the creative, critical thinkers who change the world.