Diversity by David Samuels

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May 122015

When the term “ethnic diversity” comes to mind, the typical first image in one’s mind is race. Canada is home to 31 million people of different racial heritage, and in this country, we celebrate our vast racial diversity. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, and there is even deeper, more specific diversity among different groups in the world. Bassam Tariq is a blogger, filmmaker, and the owner of a Halal butcher shop.

After seeing the media compact the vast, worldwide Muslim community into one broad racial stereotype, Tariq and his friend decided to go across the United States and break his fast for Ramadan at a different mosque every day for 30 days. As this event had full media coverage, people were able to see the various, racially diverse Muslim communities. Due to the violence in the Middle East regarding the Islamic State, non-Muslims sometimes have preconceptions about what the nuances of Islam actually are. As a supporter of individual rights and ethnic diversity, I resent broad statements about a religion or culture, and I am glad people can finally see past the veil of smoke projected by the media. In addition to this journey, Tariq has opened a Halal butcher shop called Honest Chops, which caters to everyone, not just Muslims, and helps them understand what an incredibly diverse people they are.

Supporting young TEDx speakers

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May 082015

Being asked to speak at a TEDx or TED event, is for many professionals, the apex of all of their professional work. Often these speakers are at the height of their career and have profoundly shaped their field of expertise.  Many of them have made the world a better place.  Many of them have ideas worth spreading that will affect how you and I will live out our futures.

But  TED recognizes that behind the confident exterior of that  adult giving a TED or TEDx talk, was a child with passions, interests and a desire to figure out how the world works.

_MG_8461_croppedFor these reasons, I applaud the TED-Ed Clubs program.  I love how this TED sanctioned, extra-curricular club provides our students with the opportunity to meet up with like-minded students who are often not yet friends or even in the same grade, who ALSO love ideas.

Often times when you think of an extracurricular activity, you think of sports, band or drama.  Rarely do we think of an extracurricular activity as an opportunity for students to engage their intellect, their curiosity, their desire to become an expert in an area of their choice.

Working closely with my 7 TED-Ed Club members has reinforced truths about teenagers that adults need to pay more attention to:

  1. Kids are amazing.
  2. They have interests and concerns we are not even slightly aware of.
  3. They are incredibly dedicated to the ideas and people they are passionate about.
  4. They need to be given the time and space to let their thinking flourish and develop.
  5. We need to give them a place to take intellectual risks
  6. We need to teach them how to create success.

Often times, the critique about school is that students leave unaware of the “reality” of  real life; that they don’t understand how much work it takes to be successful.  I would argue that by spending 8 months considering their passions, chasing down an idea they wish to further investigate, honing their thinking until they know exactly what they want to say, then developing the slides, the presentation style, the delivery of their talks, students ARE fully aware of how much work it takes to successfully share an idea.

They are ready for life.

What is a TED-Ed Club

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May 072015

Is there a program out there that gives students an opportunity to pursue their passions? To pursue those questions they are itching to ask but are outside the curricular framework of their classes? To hang out with students who they might not otherwise get to know who love ideas?

The answer is yes. TED-Ed Clubs.

As you were able to see from the video, TED-Ed Clubs is a  remarkable and fabulous program from TED that provides teachers and students the tools and opportunities they need to develop an idea worth spreading into a TED-like presentation.

_MG_8457_resizedIn September, 2014,  Rundle Academy was granted a licence from TED-Ed to have a club. Students meet once a week and spend their time researching their passions, sharing their ideas with each other, and developing a whole suite of presentation skills that enable them to professionally, and with great confidence, share their ideas either within their club or, as we are doing at TEDxRundleAcademy, sharing them both with a live audience and with a global audience via the TED-Ed and TEDx YouTube Channels.

Students have participated in a number of international club connects and were able to experience TEDYouth via livestream last November.

The skills and opportunities students develop by participating in a TED-Ed Club are skills that will serve them for a life-time.