What if students controlled their own learning? | Peter Hutton | TEDxMelbourne

  • Published on Nov 20, 2014
  • This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Peter is a school principal with a radical solution, no school bell, no school levels, staff selection and curriculum is even decided by students. Result? No bullying, collaboration, innovation in school dynamics.
    Peter Hutton hated his own school experience, where he felt that education was being done “to him”. As Principal of Templestowe College he developed an educational model that allows students to individualize their education and share control in the running of the school.
    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)

Comments • 305

  • Unknown Being
    Unknown Being 12 days ago

    If I controlled my own education? Lets say I can do more work faster, better, and with fun.

  • Faisal Ayub
    Faisal Ayub Month ago


  • Abdul
    Abdul Month ago

    Thanks for the inspiring speech.

  • Amy Taylor
    Amy Taylor 2 months ago

    Loved this!

  • HoverOne Racing Educational

    Education is not about learning skills, but about developing a well-balanced mind. Students must be introduced to different areas of intellectuality to develop different areas of the brain. How it is actually carried out is different in different societies. Resources are limited, so public education must choose priorities. Highly individualized learning is very expensive. Is society willing to pay the higher price? The education system is not broken, but is a compromise, like everything else in society. For those who want more personalized education, there is always the option of homeschooling.
    Maybe he can shed more light with his idea if he would share what it has on his students' academic performance or college acceptance record.

    • Future Schools Alliance
      Future Schools Alliance Month ago

      THis eduvcation system was done at the same price as regular public education. Not one extra dollar of funding.

  • Thyalwaysseek
    Thyalwaysseek 3 months ago

    It's called homeschooling.

  • DrGJames Baxter
    DrGJames Baxter 4 months ago

    i need to sit and learn from him

  • Richard Bourke
    Richard Bourke 5 months ago

    It's true the system is broken. I'm stoked that the education department allows you to do all of that (especially the alpacas!). Note that the students teaching other students idea is 200 years old - the 'Madras System' from Madras (modern day Chennai).

  • Jackie Finch
    Jackie Finch 6 months ago +2

    I think I speak for everyone at templestowe when I say we will miss him. TC bitches

    • Peter Hutton
      Peter Hutton Month ago

      Thanks Jackie. I miss everyone there too!

  • Deby Adair
    Deby Adair 8 months ago +1

    Now we're talking. This is the type of schooling model that children need. A love of doing what you choose keeps all types of illness away. Happy future workforce, and an open mind for what that could even be. Fantastic work at this school. I wish this had been my school!

  • Silver Beats Gold
    Silver Beats Gold 8 months ago +2

    This is so great! My 12 yr old hates school. I'm trying to home school now because he wasn't learning in school. He would thrive in this environment!

  • ZocNad
    ZocNad 8 months ago +2

    If you enjoyed this, I would recommend The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education by Grace Llewellyn

  • Andrew Green
    Andrew Green 9 months ago

    is there no value in encouraging students to learn about things they are not naturally inclined towards?

  • Dimitri Bernard
    Dimitri Bernard 9 months ago


  • john biondi
    john biondi 9 months ago

    Loved this talk

  • Jereme Salazar
    Jereme Salazar 10 months ago

    The tittle in this clip is a nice question. The "progressive" approach is the ideal way in K12 system of education and being promoted even in public school and as a Filipino teacher i'm in a situation that put me in delima...differentiated learning models needs a lot of materials for the teacher to prepare. If our educational system is controlled by traditional way I don't see wrong in it. In fact it's harder to teach in the public school now than before K12 system was adapted by our country applying this "progressive approach."

  • Ruttley Tash n Marty
    Ruttley Tash n Marty 10 months ago

    The answer to the future! Empower. Exercise. Evolve. Love this guy!

  • BJCE
    BJCE 11 months ago

    Why are you not the education minister. Change has to happen, and now. Parents must action change with the co-operation of the teachers. Please hurry.

  • Zoe Porphyrogenita
    Zoe Porphyrogenita Year ago +2

    Peter obtained his teaching qualification by a one-year Dip.Ed. That no longer exists. Now the main path for non-education graduates is a two-year Masters degree. It is set at M.Ed. standards, which is rough-going when this is your very first education (possibly your first humanities) course. If the governments want more qualified maths/science teachers, I humbly submit that they’ve gone about it the wrong way. I wonder how many potentially excellent STEM teachers drop out even before they graduate?

  • Zoe Porphyrogenita
    Zoe Porphyrogenita Year ago +1

    A tragedy is that the governments don’t value innovative learning. Fourth year students at my former department at LTU won five out of six national prizes. The next year, the university tried its darndest to close the department. This is sadly typical. Another time I’ll write about how Australian universities spend most of the money they receive from tuition fees: hint, it isn’t on tuition. The university councils are appointed by the state and federal governments to provide oversight, but they have utterly failed in their duty. Even the union serves the bureaucracy, not the goal of learning.

  • Zoe Porphyrogenita
    Zoe Porphyrogenita Year ago +2

    Templestowe College is well-regarded at Deakin Education. One point though. No one “let” school become dismal. Throughout the past few centuries, it was deliberately much, much worse! You were forced to go to school; if you didn’t perform, eg if your copperplate calligraphy wasn’t perfect, you were beaten: hands, rulers, canes, whips, you name it, you got hit by it. Rote learning was the only learning.

  • tap out
    tap out Year ago +2

    Four years later, and not a dent has been made in the toxic cycle.

    • Peter Hutton
      Peter Hutton Month ago

      Sad but true. I have since started the Future Schools Alliance and we are now worling with 40 schools through Australia.
      A small start but we are working on it.

  • Treché Peters
    Treché Peters Year ago +1

    Ooooo I like this guy he thinks exactly like me

  • Grease
    Grease Year ago

    “I hated school”
    -peter hutton

  • Hannah Elizabeth
    Hannah Elizabeth Year ago

    Can I move to Australia?

  • Aloyce Junior
    Aloyce Junior Year ago

    The American high School system doesn't teach anything important in life. You can discover this when you hear them speaking anything like human rights and their own government system, which almost half of them don't know how it operates.

  • haley's comet
    haley's comet Year ago +3

    i’m watching this at 10pm trying to write a global essay and struggling to focus

  • AGH
    AGH Year ago

    If a young person was asked,do you want to run your own show? They might say yes, but that is because their frontal cortex is not fully developed. He has many great things to say and I agree on lost points.

  • AGH
    AGH Year ago

    College aged children can MAYBE have the capacity to "run/guide" their own education. The problem with education starts much earlier then college. He is catering to students who only have the specific ability to govern,self reguate,and self motivate themselves. This college is still only working with the top third. I don't think that's bad...but I don't think it's the answer for all...or even most.

  • Angus Zong liscum

    Government ran educational institutions isn't to teach you what you want to know. It's the most probable process of producing useful citizens in life. This hatred for traditional school systems is always compared to theoretical utopian school systems. The countries with much more rigorous and harder subjects produce more quality individuals. One notable exception is Canada's educational success is attributed to parental involvement.

  • Emily Thompson
    Emily Thompson Year ago +1

    I hate my school so much. I want to join this school to much. If i went here id be living a dream. Geez. To think something like this exists is so amazing. This should be everywhere

  • Grace Lee
    Grace Lee Year ago +1

    I have attended his school for the past two and a half years, and I can tell you first hand it is amazing. 10/10 would recommend.

    • Peter Hutton
      Peter Hutton Month ago

      Hey Grace. I hope everything is going really well for you. Thanks for your comment.

    • Benjamin
      Benjamin Year ago

      Grace Lee what have you learnt? Would you say it’s effective?

  • Jillian Crocker
    Jillian Crocker Year ago

    Where is this school?

  • Leah Eufemia
    Leah Eufemia Year ago

    I’m slightly upset that I couldn’t be given this opportunity, but glad that more and more students are able to pave their own path in their education early on

  • indianjew
    indianjew Year ago

    In Australia we have NAPLAN; a pointless test that goes to aiur government and we're not marked on it either...it sucks!

    • Peter Hutton
      Peter Hutton Month ago

      Totally agree.

    • Speccy Science
      Speccy Science 11 months ago

      You are marked. The results go onto your school's permanent record. They are used for funding for the school, for diagnostic testing by the teachers, and for schools that have "streaming"- grouping students based on their grades.

  • Thrash Division
    Thrash Division Year ago

    Playing the game is something I've almost given up on I'm still in the middle but I've had many times where I almost gave up on math. I can't believe America's education system has become this terrible. I've done 200+ hours of math homework just so I can take a geometry placement test so the school can look better. Ridiculous I tell you

  • Jana Irgendwas
    Jana Irgendwas Year ago +2

    This man seems so incredibly honest and kind hearted. It's sad that he had such a horrible time at school but he used his experiences to help future kids and that warms my heart. Very inspiring speech executed with humor and expertize. Please keep up your amazing work!

  • Bouncy Bear
    Bouncy Bear Year ago

    any schools like this in America?

  • faith spam
    faith spam Year ago

    I want to go to school here.

  • My Peepee Hard
    My Peepee Hard Year ago +4

    I couldn't agree more. I was actually brought to tears, some one actually understands us students

  • Suhyoung Choi
    Suhyoung Choi Year ago

    People this is a highly expensive school with excellent staffs. Most people do not really understand what amount of funding is needed to run it like this. Of course there are hippy type schools in 1960s. We don't want that.

    • Peter Hutton
      Peter Hutton Month ago

      Sorry, but that's not true. This is a governmnet school and voluntary fees are around $500 per year.

  • Suhyoung Choi
    Suhyoung Choi Year ago +1

    Obviously this kind of education cannot be dispensed for middle class or lower class. You will need the student to staff ratio of around 2-3. Your mom and pop have to earn at least $200,000 per year to send you to this type of schools, and they will have to sacrifice their retirement funds. Of course, every human being deserves this kind of education as kids in Somalia deserve nutritious food.

    • Peter Hutton
      Peter Hutton Month ago

      Our staff student ratio is 1:15 and that includes all admin/ leadership. Not one extra dollar of funding. It's actually cheaper to run this type of vertical education system.

  • Reylo Cakes
    Reylo Cakes Year ago

    I wish I could go to that school

  • Maisie Moo
    Maisie Moo Year ago

    I loved this video. All schools should be like his!

  • Me Me
    Me Me Year ago +1

    I’ve applied to the “top third”
    But I despise this education system. We’re pushed to be silent, just listen and write down notes.
    The things I want to do (physics, chemistry , biology) aren’t available for me at my age.
    School, I feel, should teach you all the basic subjects but also should provide specialized classes for what you WANT to study.

  • MelancholyEl
    MelancholyEl Year ago +1

    I love this man. Even being one of the students who do well in school, it still sucks. Why are all schools not like this?

  • Dovakin3004
    Dovakin3004 Year ago +1

    I adore this video, during the current moment in time, I'm starting GCSE's / O levels and if every government decided to take a small amount of money out of the military (except the UK because we're underfunding the military) and put it into the schools and implemented this ideology, the nations and their children will start to become smarter

  • UnicornQueen 123
    UnicornQueen 123 Year ago +3

    I liked after the first three words ...'I hated school'

  • Filipinator
    Filipinator Year ago +2

    I love this video, so much. I'm in Grade 6 and top of my class. Most kids in the class struggle with the things were learning, but I already know them. I wish they taught in a manner so that depending on your level, you are assigned a different type/difficulty of work. Since every level of understanding is assigned the same level of work, I had to take matters into my owns hands and bought a Grade 7 math book- it isn't hard, just easy to normal. Also, why don't schools teach you how to learn before they shove lessons in your face? That's why the kids fail, they cannot learn. You're trying to teach them things as easy as Area, but if they weren't taught how to understand and process, they'll be lost forever.

    • Peter Hutton
      Peter Hutton Month ago

      @Filipinator Absolutely! Don't get too hung up on whether things are seen as academic or worthwhile by others. Your interests sound facinating to me. Follow what YOU want to do and go as deep as you want to go. I am always surpised at how things we might initially see as disconnected come together to make a formidable skill set that ends up being highly valued. Best of luck to you and remember tread your own path.

    • Filipinator
      Filipinator Month ago

      @Peter Hutton This is unusual but I happened to click on this video a year after posting and seeing my comment. I've tried to focus on my own things since last year and it worked quite well. Learned to bake; I draw a lot; take care of plants. I think this is what you were getting at.

    • Peter Hutton
      Peter Hutton Month ago

      You may find you need a maths book several years ahead of your peers. That is the nature of teaching Maths, the same topics keep coming back year after year, just a little bit harder each time. My suggestion...do your own thing and dont think too much about school. You will still do well in spite of your formal education, not because of it.

  • jessie liu
    jessie liu Year ago +1

    Honestly I wish I was at this school. I remember I loved science. I used to watch all these science documentaries and crash courses for fun, then a few years in high school sucked it right out of me. I now have 0 passion for everything I do in school and I feel like I’m doing it only out of fear of failure.

  • AngelGoddess
    AngelGoddess Year ago +1

    why cant my school be like this? instead of learning about all those useless subjects ill never use again after school, I could learn something im interested in... can i be born years into the future when all schools r like that?

  • talia maloof
    talia maloof Year ago

    I want to go to school there. I'd go to school for 8 hours if i got to choose my classes .

  • Elle Lewis
    Elle Lewis Year ago +1

    that is called freedom

  • Elle Lewis
    Elle Lewis Year ago

    It makes me happy that there are people in schools like that. I as well as many others, do not have that privilege.

  • Alison Carlisle
    Alison Carlisle Year ago

    This has been around for a very, very long time. It's called /homeschooling/.

    • Peter Hutton
      Peter Hutton Month ago

      We actually call it a supported form of home-schooling. We just need to do it on mass.

    • Mbaldoim ssotnedt
      Mbaldoim ssotnedt 9 months ago

      Some people's parents don't have the time to homeschool their child, and find it quite difficult. And then some people's parents are dead, and they find it REALLY difficult.

  • Taylor Billet
    Taylor Billet Year ago

    I'm going to be honest: I barely even pay attention in the subjects I have no interest in at school. The only reason I try to pay attention in math is because I don't get it, and quite frankly, the explanation of some topics are explained poorly. I was absent nearly the entire time period when we were learning about acient Egypt, and I got an A on the test. I doubt any people put effort into the reading class because most of us look like we're about to fall asleep. English is just another period to drum fingers and memorize vocab words like it will help us and that we'll remember them 10 years down the road. The only class I was sure most of us were genuinely interested in was gym because we weren't sitting in a chair, and STEAM, because it was something the majority of my grade wants to have a profession in. My two friends love drawing and want to be charecter creators in ainime. There's no class at school for that. In elementary we are encouraged to think creatively but now that I'm in Jr. High I can see the drastic change in the students. People who were smiling everyday now have a bored look on thier face. School kills creativity.

  • Ocareening
    Ocareening Year ago +1

    Can all schools PLEASE adopt this method??

  • Anonym Ous
    Anonym Ous Year ago +1


  • Heath Holtz
    Heath Holtz Year ago

    I have heard many of his thoughts before. When he says we ruined their love of learning. NO we didnt. children change, their priorities change. We can improve things but if you think its bad teachers because a kindergartener wants to learn more than an 8th grader you will never get anywhere.

  • Sincerely, Mika
    Sincerely, Mika Year ago

    Not everyone has the same mind, and each school goes by that saying. However, they teach everyone the same even when some information is useless, uninformative and just things to memorize only to forget it to make more space for new things to memorize.
    They cannot expect us to be some perfect Angels, we are angels, but we are also humans, Angels with dark wings.
    I don't blame the teachers, it's the system.
    Do they know how much people are stressing because they can't get a diploma or simply graduate because they have family affairs? Do they know how many people are in debt just to pay for tuition fees and student loans? Do they know how students can feel so afraid to the point where they are even afraid to be in class? But they have too, or else they will be losers, losers with no money or job.
    Look at me, I'm younger than 14, I have good grades just because I must or else I'll be living a hellish life.

  • snik snak
    snik snak Year ago +1

    i really want to go to that fuken school

  • Dragon
    Dragon Year ago +1

    I wish I knew about this place like 6 years ago when I went into middle school

  • Lorelai Dixon
    Lorelai Dixon Year ago

    we should learn actual life lessons at school instead of things we’ll never use in the future.

  • The Midnight Man
    The Midnight Man Year ago +3

    I am 12 years old and I told my mother about this, but she didn't get this, she was surprised I did get what he was saying

  • TheFoxfiend
    TheFoxfiend Year ago +1

    I wish I had gone to that school. If I find myself in a place to fix the school system, I won't hesitate to do so.

  • CA1984
    CA1984 Year ago +3

    What about the student that is only interested in kicking a footy or playing basketball, but isn't ever going to be a professional athlete? Most children don't have the maturity to think broadly about what they may need to be educated. The number of year 7 students who have a burning desire to learn physics is very small. Your students might have a great time at school, but in 10 years time a lot of them might be thinking "gee, maybe I should have actually done some proper work when I was at school"

    • Speccy Science
      Speccy Science 11 months ago

      NAPLAN might not affect your grade, but it may affect how the teachers treat you. And often this is done unfairly. Have a look into how "deficit-oriented perspectives" affect not just schools but whole regions of schools.

    • Candle Fight
      Candle Fight Year ago +1

      CA1984 this was two months ago but naplan is completely useless. It doesn’t affect your grade at all and it’s literally just for the government to get an average of all the students in the country. Also from being a student at this school there are plenty of students who just don’t do anything and just do the easy classes and muck about. At the end of year 12 a lot of them do wake up and realize that they haven’t done anything, but it can be a blessing for more self driven students, for example I’m in year nine but I’m doing year eleven classes. I’m planning to graduate next year. At tc I get the opportunity to do that, but a lot of students just take advantage of this school to just do nothing. There’s a lot of kids here that should be in more structured schools.

    • CA1984
      CA1984 Year ago +1

      How would a student who can design their own learning program prepare for NAPLAN or the Progressive Achievement Tests for Literacy and Numeracy, where core material must be learnt. There is a very strong possibility that higher level numeracy skills will be passed over because they are not engaging, but they are required to undertake the STEM degrees. I would certainly like to learn more about the academic achievement of students under this educational model, as it is certainly not what the countries who consistently perform well in international rankings would undertake.

    • Peter Hutton
      Peter Hutton Year ago +2

      Having seen kids from very normal backgrounds enter this system for 8 years now, i have to say you are underestimating the maturity of young people when they are given a chance to make their own decisions. Students have to plan out and justify the next 5 years of their learning journey and this has to be checked off by a senior staff member as being realistic and viable. In most schools many student act immaturely BECAUSE they have no power and someone else is taking all the responsibility.

  • Ruby
    Ruby Year ago

    mayby i go to school with kids unlike any others, but many kids at our school do the bare minimum, or less. If they didn't have to, they wouldn't come to school. If they direct their learning, they would purposfully not learn.

  • Noémie D
    Noémie D Year ago +32

    "I hated school" *cheers intensifies*

  • One Lyphe Ent.
    One Lyphe Ent. Year ago +1

    hey i like that idea of students controlling there own learning.i'm 15 years old , i would like to attend this school ,is it possible to do that at this moment?

  • Gayathri Kumari
    Gayathri Kumari Year ago

    =D this was fun. both to listen and to imagine how wonderful it would be when done.

  • Minature
    Minature Year ago

    So where do i sign up!

  • Freddy Ramirez Gallardo

    Thank you so much !!

  • Aurora DVM
    Aurora DVM Year ago

    Victims of the curriculum!

  • Fleuron-128
    Fleuron-128 Year ago

    My secondary school also had a system called "home learning" except it was literally homework with a different name. Would much prefer the one he explained

    • Peter Hutton
      Peter Hutton Month ago

      Hey Candle Fight. I have been gone from the school for 18 months now, whilst i set up the Future Schools Alliance, but the idea was always that "what is done in class must be enough to pass" in other words you were given enough time in class to achieve a passing grade, but if you wanted to achieve more then you were encouraged to work on an assignment outside of class.

    • Candle Fight
      Candle Fight Year ago

      Home learning didn’t work and it’s pretty much just homework. Having being at this school for three years, we do get pretty much no homework but yeah it is there.

  • Cameron McCarthy
    Cameron McCarthy Year ago +1

    Sounds awesome but there is only so much kids and parents or even teachers can do. Nothing is every going to change