TED-Ed Club Facilitator in the field: Catlin Tucker


As we round out the first year of TED-Ed Clubs, we wanted to know the answer to one big question: how are they going? So the TED-Ed Blog invited facilitators to share their experiences in this column, “TED-Ed Club Facilitators in the Field.” Below, thoughts from Catlin Tucker, a teacher at Windsor High School in Windsor, California. 

I’m a huge fan of TED Talks! TED presenters weave together stories and information skillfully to engage their audiences. They have clearly rehearsed their material, yet the delivery is natural and, as a result, their ideas are compelling. I want my students to feel confident articulating their ideas and delivering powerful and poignant presentations, so I began my own TED-Ed Club.

TED-Ed Clubs “is a flexible, school-based program that supports students in discussing, pursuing and presenting their big ideas in the form of short TED-style talks.” TED-Ed has designed a curriculum for club facilitators complete with club goals and meeting outlines that guide students through the process of identifying, cultivating and presenting their ideas worth sharing.

At first, many of my students were daunted by the prospect of presenting a TED-style talk. It’s sad, but many teenagers assume they cannot add anything of value to the global conversation about important, and often controversial, issues. I want my students to know their ideas are worthwhile and their voices can be heard by a global audience. I passionately believe that when educators give students an authentic audience, students will do their best work.

I was completely floored by some of the TED-style talks my students delivered at the end of first semester as the culminating event for our TED-Ed Club.

Here, Paloma Velasquez, a 9th-grade student, talks about the need to redefine feminism. She makes the point that feminism is about balance and flexibility.

Emma Donoho, a 10th-grade student, talks about the need for more strong female role models. She argues that young girls, like young boys, deserve to grow up believing they can be strong, powerful and intelligent.

Anna Kaufman, a 10th-grade student, shares a heartbreaking story and explains how a tragic event taught her to embrace, rather than run from, chaos.

As we transition from an age of privacy into a new era of connectivity, it’s important for educators to create time, space, and opportunities for students to cultivate and share their ideas with the world. TED-Ed Clubs gave me a structured way to get this done.

This piece originally ran on Catlin Tucker’s blog. Follow @Catlin_Tucker on Twitter for more updates from this educator. >>