By Susan Hayes
In its second year, one of the culminating events for eighth grade students is TED Talks. Social justice has been a theme running through much of the literature studied this year. In keeping with this theme, the girls have been reading the acceptance speeches of three recipients of the Nobel Prize for Peace. After analyzing the speeches, the girls embarked on their own study of a social issue that concerns them. They prepared a talk to share their topic and how it might be addressed by society at large. Some of the topics included child marriage, the environment, gender equality, and gun violence.
TED Talks are known to have a transformative experience for both the listener and speaker. We asked a few of the girls to share testimonials on what they enjoyed and what they learned:
"TED Talks are an opportunity for us to explore issues that we are passionate about. I really appreciate how the teachers gave us freedom when it comes to choosing our social issues; by choosing topics that truly interest us, we as students also enjoyed researching about our issues. I think TED Talks are a great opportunity for both strengthening our public speaking skills and our analytical skills. At first, I was afraid to talk about my social issue to the public, because I was worried that people would have different opinions. But, I felt confident about my views when I was giving my TED Talk. This project taught me to believe in my own opinions and how to be more confident." - Hellen
"For my TED Talk, I chose to write about Climate Change. I appreciated that we were able to choose a topic that we were passionate about. Choosing our own topics allowed us to express ourselves through the things we have strong opinions on. The speaking portion of this project helped us to convey the emotion behind the words. For many in the class, the idea of speaking in front of a large group seemed intimidating, but this project gave us the opportunity to practice public speaking, which is an important life skill." - Margaret