Sunday, 10 September 2017

A Story Telling Session

Two years ago, I got a call from a dear friend, Piyali, who was working with a children's publication. She asked me if I could volunteer as a Punjabi translator for a website her company was building. My literary interests made me happily agree to it. She put me through the editor, Yamini, who sent me the work log. I enjoyed learning and doing online translations of different stories. The publication was 'Pratham Books' and its website ''.

My association with 'Pratham Books' deepened this year when I volunteered to be a 'Pratham Books Champion.' To encourage children to fall in love with reading 'Pratham Books' initiated a 'Pratham Books Champion' program in which volunteers conduct reading sessions free of cost, mostly with children from under served communities. The event is scheduled every year to celebrate 'International Literacy Day' to promote joy of reading.

I conducted my session on 9th September, 2017 at Bal Bhawan managed by Red Cross Society in Ludhiana, Punjab. I met the Principal and care taker of the school and proposed the idea which she happily accepted. I fixed the date and time. I received the book 'Kottavi Raja and his Sleepy Kingdom' along with the 'Pratham Books Champion' banner via courier. I practiced the story by myself a couple of times to get familiar and fluent before the day of the session.


We gathered all the children in the common area and made them sit in a circle. I was impressed to see the discipline these kids showed in their mannerisms. I read the story aloud to the children. We kept interacting in between the story to ensure all were attentively flowing through the story. It was a pleasure to get instant responses from the children. I rotated my book around to show pictures of the narratives as we pursued the story.

The session ended with a fun picture session. The Principal asked me to come more often for such sessions. It was truly a fulfilling experience. I look forward to conducting many more sessions.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

My Experience As A TED Ed Club Leader

I am an involved parent. My day revolves around my children. As my eldest daughter took her first steps to school and I committed to being her companion through her education. I got educational toys and books, planned educational outings and did everything in which she would learn to do well at school. With days passing by,  I found myself making her cram things for tests or competitions. It made me wonder the true essence of education. My approach was lacking creativity and my daughter didn't seem to enjoy it. I started reading on innovative education and reworked my methods. This research led  me to find the true essence of education. I read, pondered and reflected. I found 'critical thinking' is the real essence of education. We as parents, teachers and educators should work on building critical thinking skills in children.

Education is my passion. I have served the board of my daughter's school as the General Secretary of the Parent School Association. This gave me a great exposure into the working of an educational institution. I was the link between the parents and the school authorities. I learnt to resolve the issues and escalate important matters. This opportunity gave a deep understanding of the school management and functioning of the board. I learnt the teachers perspective  and it widened my understanding.  I conducted a workshop on creative writing for students. I experienced teaching students in school and their reactions to new concepts. I organised 'Parents Thanksgiving' event at the school. My tenure of two years gave me great insights into the Indian school system. I wanted to work towards building critical thinking skills among students. I was also keen to bring international exposure at school level.

My quest with these two goals ended when I found TED Ed Clubs program. TED Ed Clubs program emphasizes on passion - driven education, self - directed learning and independent thinking. It gives voice to the students and celebrates their ideas. It is not competitive rather it focuses on one unique thing that only you can do. It is an initiative to help students around the world to bring TED in their school. I decided to start a TED Ed Club at Sat Paul Mittal School in Ludhiana, Punjab in India.

Being a TED Ed Club leader has empowered me. I have grown and immensely learnt through this course. I am not a teacher by profession but my passion for this course lead me to deliver it effectively. The program has excellent resources. I went through the curriculum and extra exploration references. 'TED Talks' by Chris Anderson, the head of TED, is an invaluable resource for all TED Ed Club leaders and students. This book has many great examples and major takeaways of TED conferences.

Each session was immense learning for me. I created power point presentations for most of the sessions. It helped me upgrade my computer skills. Every class enhanced my presentation and public speaking skills. The course structure is open ended which gives a chance of creativity for the club leaders. I invited a guest speaker, Mr. Shivam Pahwa, an artist to talk about his career. It was an enlightening and motivating talk for the students. I shared my work experience with Google and Leo Burnett with students. Every class brought about fresh ideas and new understanding of different things. It was a delight to have discussions with students. I got a chance to understand their views and perspectives. We worked on various ideas, brainstormed and concluded on the best. In the course of the club, we became a little family functioning together. 

The final day of recording was definitely the most memorable day of our club cycle. It was nice to see the students formally dressed for the recording. We had fun moments when I captured the nervous students rehearsing their talks on candid camera. I learnt that by showing confidence in students abilities we give them power to achieve anything they want. I saw a pattern of ideas coming from this new generation. A few students spoke on depression, anxiety and stress. They conveyed a message of the pressures they go through and what the adults can do to make them feel better. I could see a trend among their age group through their talks. I felt the power of this course that if I can see a pattern through the TED Ed Club talks in my class, then how talks of students from all over the world tell us the needs of the young generation. We can truly build a better future if we understand and cater to the needs of the students around the world.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Advantages of joining a TED Ed Club

I introduced the TED Ed Clubs program in my previous post. I would like tell you about the advantages of being a part of TED Ed Clubs program.  Below, I have listed the advantages of joining the TED Ed clubs for students.

1. To enhance personal growth by acquiring new skills.
  • TED Ed Clubs curriculum is designed to teach presentation literacy and public speaking skills. 
  • Students learn to draft a powerful talk, structure it and deliver it effectively.
  • Students learn basic animation and video production techniques while recording their talks.
  • Every talk by each student is uploaded on TED Ed's YouTube channel. Students will hone their skills to use online media effectively. 
2. To help students celebrate their authentic self.
  • This program is about personal passion and relevance.
  • It is not competitive rather it celebrates uniqueness of every student.
  • It emphasizes on passion-driven education. It helps students in finding their passions, interests and key values of life.
  • The course enables the students to drive on their idea themselves and inculcates independent thinking.
  • The major takeaway of this program is that the worth of your talk comes from the authenticity of your story.
3. Gives students global exposure.
  • TED Ed Clubs is a 'global program.' Students become a part of a global community of like minded people and creative problem solvers.
  • TED Ed Clubs organizes connect calls to connect classrooms of different countries to promote cultural exchanges. It helps in understanding different countries, cultures and perspectives.
  • The students can become a part of the 'Global Student Council' of TED Ed Clubs.
  • Students can apply for the TED Ed weekend event held at TED headquarters in New York, USA held twice a year.
  • A chance to be a part of the TED stage. This year, for the first time a TED Ed Club member spoke at TED 2017 held at Vancouver, Canada.
4.  An asset on the high school/ university applications.
  • TED Ed Clubs program is an excellent platform for students to express themselves creatively.
  • Their TED Ed Club talk will stand out in their high school or university applications.
5. Gives students more voice in their education.
  • TED Ed Clubs believe that the curriculum makers are the older generation. But they do not know what the students face at their level. They want to understand their needs.
  • It believes that students ideas and perspectives will define the future. It wants to help students make this world a better place.

Introducing the TED Ed Clubs program

My vision to create learning a joy and making education more relevant and well paced with the fast changing times lead me to become a TED Ed Clubs facilitator. I would like to give a brief introduction on the TED Ed Clubs program.

TED Ed Clubs is a program started by a non - profit organisation based in New York, USA. It is devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short powerful talks, famously known as TED talks. TED stands for technology, entertainment and design. It started as a conference and got converted into an annual event in Monterery, California in 1990.

TED passionately believes that ideas have the power to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. With this philosophy in mind and the intention of supporting teachers and sparking curiosity of learners, TED Ed was launched in 2012. TED Ed is TED's youth and education initiative. TED Ed is an award winning platform that supports learning, It has produced a growing library of educational animated videos. It has provided an international platform for teachers to create their own interactive lessons and to help curious students around the world to bring TED to their school through TED Ed Clubs.

TED Ed Clubs is a program that supports students in discovering, exploring and presenting their idea in the form short TED - style talk. This program was started in 2014. There are over 3500 clubs in the world. Last year, the Italian government made it a part of their official curriculum as an optional subject.