TED-Ed Club Members reflect on stage fright, research and changing the world

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Throughout the past few months, we have been more than impressed with the great ideas that have been shared with us through TED-Ed Club Meet & Greets, various online conversations, and our club members’ amazing selfies. When we asked students all over the world to share what they’ve learned from being a TED-Ed Club Member, we found that, in addition to exploring their passions, finding great visuals and filming presentations, they have been exposed to a variety of unexpected lessons – from overcoming stage fright to learning something new about their classmates to improving their research skills. Here, four TED-Ed Club Members share a bit about their experience so far.

Bazil Saiq (left) poses with a fellow TED-Ed Club Member. Photo courtesy Greenford High School's TED-Ed Club.

Bazil Saiq (right) poses with a fellow TED-Ed Club Member. Photo courtesy Greenford High School’s TED-Ed Club.

Bazil Saiq
Greenford High School’s TED-Ed Club

London, UK

TED-ED in Greenford High School has been a huge success. The first meeting consisted of around 10 members where we watched “The Science of Stage Fright” but now, we are a club of more than 30 students. The TED-ED Club has been able to provide students an emotional outlet, to express and write about ideas which they are passionate about. So far, the members have been working through the guide books, and are up to meeting 4. During meetings, we first watch a TED-ED video, then reflect on it using the questions and finally work through our booklets, using the video as inspiration where applicable.

My personal favorite memory was when the whole meeting plan was curiously disturbed by a sudden debate which arose regarding marriage, following a TED-ED video concerning the types of marriage. I am a sufferer of glossophobia (the fear of public speaking), however I now feel more confident in running the club and more assured when I present my TED-Ed Club presentation. I realized that if I wanted to get over this fear for good, I had to practice, practice and practice. We are currently working on our TED-Ed presentations and we are getting interesting ideas from the students!

Overall, TED-Ed Clubs has been a great initiative in schools to allow students to go beyond the curriculum and make connections with different ideas that are “worth spreading.”

Cat Hoyt (top row in third from left) poses with fellow TED-Ed Club Members. Photo courtesy Burlington High School's TED-Ed Club.

Cat Hoyt (top row in third from left) poses with fellow TED-Ed Club Members. Photo courtesy Burlington High School’s TED-Ed Club.

Cat Hoyt
Burlington High School’s TED-Ed Club

Burlington, MA, USA

Overall, my experience as a TED-Ed Club Member has been great! I was actually the last person to join my school’s TED-Ed Club when a couple people told me I should check it out. I tend to be a very opinionated person and they thought the TED environment would suit me well. I’m very glad I listened!

One of my favorite moments I’ve experienced as a club member this year was when Mrs. Scheffer had each member in our club go up on the stage in our auditorium and practice the beginning of our TED-Ed Club presentations. We had no idea she was going to have us do this, and since it was early in the year, none of our talks were done. It was basically a “do as much as you can” kind of thing. I struggle with stage fright, but I was feeling brave for the day so I volunteered to go first. I got up on the stage and started talking about my topic (which is empathy) and I couldn’t stop talking. My typically beet-red face and shaking hands that came with public speaking never happened and I didn’t feel nervous at all.

I think that I was so passionate about my topic that I genuinely wanted to be up there talking about it, even if I didn’t think so. I think that is the great thing about being in a TED-Ed Club and overcoming stage fright. A TED-Ed Club helps you to find something that you are passionate about and when you are truly passionate about something, stage fright just doesn’t happen or is at least drastically reduced. If you really find something you are passionate about, you want your passion and your opinion to have an impact on other people and it is much more exciting than nerve-racking to share it with others.

Hunter Callaway films his TED-Ed Club presentation. Photo courtesy Dylan Ferniany.

Hunter Callaway films his TED-Ed Club presentation. Photo courtesy Dylan Ferniany.

Hunter Callaway
Homewood Middle School’s TED-Ed Club

Birmingham, AL, USA

For me, it was hardest to figure out what I wanted to do. When I first started writing it, I had a ton of ideas and it took me a while to boil it down until I had what I wanted, and after a while the talk had its shape and was where I wanted it to be, I just had to keep editing and revising it. The easiest part was probably the brainstorming, I had so many ideas, the only hard part was figuring out which one would be best as a talk.

I’ve always liked public speaking. Presentations for my classes are a highlight for me. I do the school news, and I’ve gotten first place in public speaking for Technology Student Association two years running. However, one thing my talk for TED-Ed forced me to do was research it. I thought much more about the structure than before and really experimented with techniques I haven’t used before.

My talk was about how prejudices and biases affect us and what we can try to do about it. I learned about Rule Governed behavior, which is how social norms, standards, and traditions affect people’s actions and judgments. I thought this was really interesting, especially because of how closely it pertained to my talk! My talk started out a lot differently than how it ended, with me nitpicking and editing it constantly. When I first started out, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say, I just had an idea about how people stay away from crime more because of wanting to be accepted rather than to follow the laws. After that, it evolved from there and became the presentation I ended up making.

Ioana Niculescu-Caranfil from  George Cosbuc Bilingual High-School's TED-Ed Club poses with her presentation idea. Photo courtesy George Cosbuc's TED-Ed Club.

Ioana Niculescu-Caranfil from George Cosbuc Bilingual High-School’s TED-Ed Club poses with her presentation idea. Photo courtesy George Cosbuc’s TED-Ed Club.

Ioana Niculescu-Caranfil
 George Cosbuc National Bilingual High School’s TED-Ed Club
Bucharest, Romania

Do you know that feeling when you are about to tell something, but you don’t know from where to start because there are so many beautiful parts to begin with? For me, my TED-Ed Club made me see the world from a different experience. I met new people and I also made new friends.

When we first met, we were shy and maybe a little scared. But as soon as the bravest of us started to introduce ourselves, we soon realized we had many things in common, especially our dream: to help the world be a better place. I believe that it was my favorite moment. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t speak a lot when encountered by strangers, but I feel really comfortable when I am to speak in front of my TED-Ed Club colleagues.

To be honest, I was very scared when I heard that I have to speak in public because I was afraid that I would make a mistake, or forget what to say. We had a lesson about public speaking and after that I realized that I can do it and I became more and more excited. I understood in order to have a good presentation you need to feel what you are saying and really mean it, not learning by heart.

A great part from this project is that you listen to other people’s ideas and you also get help putting everything in the right place. You get the chance to listen to what people have to say and to see if you think the same. My favorite topic was the one of my colleagues who said that she wants to help the children who are in hospitals through teaching them how to dance to make them forget about their worries even for a short period of time. I found it very interesting because there are a lot of children who are sick and who need a little sunshine in their lives.

I am happy that I could be part of this team, of this family because I learned many interesting things and I made new friends I know I can rely on.

Interested in starting a TED-Ed Club at your school, educational organization or summer program? Find out how to get started at ed.ted.com/clubs.