Randy Wallock, a 7th grade Language Arts teacher, stumbled upon TEDx when trying to replace his school’s previous afterschool enrichment program. Inspired by TEDx and with an idea to enhance the afterschool program, Wallock applied for and received a license in the fall of 2012 to include a TEDx program in the afterschool program.
Wallock recruited teachers from various disciplines, such as special education, forensics, and technology to help coach the students. Once a week for two or more hours, the TEDx group met to discuss projects and brainstorm more ideas. At the end of the school year each student got up and delivered a 10-minute presentation, without the use of notes, in front of a 100 peers. Wallock and fellow teachers were careful not to coach the students’ public speaking styles and encouraged the students to talk about their interests.
One participant, Curran Stockton, is now a high school freshman who had participated in the program for two years while in middle school. When asked about the program, Stockton said that the program introduced students to different friend groups while encouraging creative ideas. Despite the fact that all the students were different, Stockton said that, “everyone blended so well.” Stockton was not the only student who had a positive experience with the program. Alexis Greenblatt took part in TEDx as an eighth grader and said that “You really got to know other people through collaborative work.”
Wallock is now in his third year overseeing the afterschool TEDx club. As in the first year, students receive no grades or special commendations for their work. The students participate purely for interest and self-gain. Wallock believes that students who participate in the program are able to cultivate their curiosities and develop cultural identities.
Since 2009, more than 10,000 TEDx events have occurred around the world. The TEDx program allows for community organizations, towns and schools to host their own TED talk. TEDx talks features community experts, authorities and teenagers to speak, versus featuring national figures.
Transform Consulting Group applauds Wallock and the middle school on enhancing students’ learning through integrating TEDx with their afterschool program. Contact Transform Consulting Group today if your organization is looking for innovative ways to enhance your students’ learning.