As a Language teacher, one common question that parents ask all the time is: ‘How do we improve his/her language or speaking?’ In their minds, language is a static entity, trapped in a box, to be released all at once.
To me, Language is highly dynamic. It changes, transforms to our needs and contexts, and it feeds on its environment; almost like an organism. To learn language and its diverse expressions, one needs to speak. It is not a conclusive process; one does not refine one’s language absolutely and only then express it. One explores, makes mistakes, and then refines language; that is how it works.
In my attempt to help students along this path, we decided collectively to set up A Ted Ed Club in school. Here is what one of our students, Alsmith, has to say about this initiative:
‘It is not about ideas. It is about making ideas happen’
As we always enjoyed our English classes for being the most interactive classes of its kind, we also developed new ideas and never hesitated to put them before our mentor who would always listen to us patiently and ask us really practical questions which would make us think out of the box. It was just one random English period and some way or the other, the topic of ‘Ted-Talks’ came up. Like always, we began talking about the different theories proposed by different personalities, admiring their level of intelligence and how they put it forward to the people which convinced them into believing everything they said. After all, ‘effective language persuades peoples’ minds.’ Our mentor suggested that we should apply for the Ted-Ed club for the students of our age. Within a few days, we got the approval letter and were super fascinated to take part in this.
The Ted-Ed Club is a platform where people bring forth an idea and used the different AOK’S (Areas of Knowledge) and the WOK’S (Ways of Knowing) to prove it. It is not only a platform that helps one to increase their self-confidence levels but teaches them on how to go about an idea. How does it all happen?
- Come up with an idea: Your idea could be as simple as ‘Why do bees have hexagonal honey combs?’ or as complicated as ‘What is sense making in a complex and complicated world?’ As long as you have a number of AOKs and WOKs to prove your idea, you have nothing to be afraid of.
- Prepare a strong foundation to support your idea: Behind every successfully implemented idea is a strong research and exploration. Your research could be done from different sources like books, internet, magazines, newspaper articles or even real life situations. It will be hard to convince people into believing what you speak, but everything you talk about will come from all the research you have been doing. Leave no part when it comes to exploring. You need to gather many supportive statements and evidences for your idea, which only comes through lots of exploring.
- Presentation: Once you know what you have your idea with enough evidences to prove it, you need to start working on how to effectively influence people. This is the main result of all your efforts. Factors like your personality, body language, tone of speech, confidence and your dressing will play a major role in your presentation. Make sure you have all of those upgraded before you present your idea. When putting this on video, you need to make sure that there are other factors that will add a brownie point to your presentation like the quality of the video, the background and basically the whole setting of your presentation like the ambience, sounds etc.
It may be as easy as ABC to come up with ideas, but it takes a lot of hard work and determination with a proper mind set to put forth your idea before the audience and convince them into believing what you think is right. I surely am looking forward to having a great time in the Ted- Ed Club and I can’t really wait to see what’s in the stores for us.
Nasreen Khan, Facilitator