Thursday, May 26, 2016

TED X Talks: A Catalyst for Change, International School Bangkok

TED is an acronym for: Technology, Education, Design. I first got hip to TED Talks sometime in the mid 2000's. An acquaintance mentioned that I check out Al Gore's TED Talk on Climate Change. I did and I was hooked. I liked the format, setting, and vibe of TED Talks. TED Talks are a great venue for some of the most innovative and freshest voices to come forth and share their ideas with the world. I draw inspiration from the talks and often times view them when preparing to give a presentation.

As part of the English curriculum at ISB, students in grade 11 in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program are required to give a TED Talk on a topic of their choice under the theme of "Catalyst for Change." Then, out of the 170 students who give in class TED Talks, 10 are selected to present at a TED X event.

Last year, I attended ISB's TED X Talks and I was blown away! I heard students give passionate speeches on the following: The Merits of Taking a Gap Year, The Power of Public Speaking, and Introversion. But, it was the presentation entitled: Default: A talk on the lack of diversity in literature that greatly impressed me!  The student, half-Thai, half-Dutch who is passionate about literature and visual art, gave a presentation on why when depicting characters in movies and literature despite how they are described, end up being white in movies or when illustrated in books. It wasn't just the subject matter that enthralled me, it was the manner in which this student commanded the stage. She was confident, provocative, and passionate about what she spoke. I was so impressed by her and all the speakers I saw that evening. They were better presenters than many adult presenters I've had to endure over the years. And, it was after her presentation that I vowed, to attend ISB's TED X event annually, as I am able. That's how powerful the evening was for me.

Fast forward to this year's TED X event and the presenters. I had the pleasure of seeing some of the following topics presented: The benefits and challenges of growing up a Third Culture Kid (Which was painful and hilarious. Why being offensive is important (It was not what I expected and I really enjoyed it!). How the Brain Can Get Sick (One Student's Journey with Mental Illness), and the importance for multilingual people not to lose their mother tongue. It was another great evening of fearless and passionate students who had stories to share. What's your story?

* Below is a video of the Default TEDxTalk from 2015 and a link to this year's TEDxTalk's.

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