- Elementary School
Each week more than 100 fourth-graders at SSIS gather for a 30-minute presentation by guest speakers who share their personal stories of what gives them purpose and how they’ve overcome hurdles in their careers or studies.
The curiosity of a nine-year-old knows no bounds. So just imagine gathering more than one hundred of them in a single space each week and letting them pepper a guest speaker with their questions. Time would be up before you knew it.
Regenerative engineer and TEDx speaker, Sara Rickards, engages students from her home and office in Byron Bay, Australia.
But fortunately for Grade 4 students at SSIS, their teachers have achieved an online learning experience that would have been impossible in a physical environment - inviting inspiring guest speakers “into” the class on a weekly basis.
Everyone Encounters Challenges
The presentations center on themes like growth mindset, resilience, and balance, and the speakers come from all corners of the world. The series exposes students to people and professions they might never otherwise meet and often challenges the students’ ideas of gender stereotypes.
“Students are fascinated to be able to speak directly to a real nurse or karate instructor. They build a connection with each speaker as they learn first-hand that everyone overcomes challenges to get to where they are,” says teacher Sophie Gamage, who developed the guest speaker series.
Just a few days after having a lesson with Farah Abdou, a karate instructor, students cheer upon hearing that their new friend has earned a gold medal in a competition.
In preparation for the presentations, students’ questions are gathered on a Google Jamboard. “Who helped you get your positive energy to continue your passion?” “How do you feel when you help a patient?” and “What is a good strategy to calm down?” are just some of the questions students read aloud when they meet, Ashley Di Cicco, a registered nurse in Melbourne, Australia.
Danial Hogg, the founder of an online community offering fitness and yoga sessions during the lockdown, shares his experiences of community service and leads students through a workout during his session. And from our own ES counselor, Lance Paul, students learn how to find their own personal practices of mindfulness using music, meditation, and yoga.
Ending her session with an exercise to help students calm negative emotions like anger, sorrow, or fear, Leigh De Bruin, a transformation coach and Tai Chi instructor based in Oman, guides students to concentrate on their breathing with their hands on their chests and tummies while focusing on various objects.
G4 Talks - When Students Become the Experts
Listening to and engaging with all the presenters and being able to ask a TEDx speaker about her experience, were great preparation for Grade 4 students’ “Grade 4 Talks.” The TED Talk-like event, where students held their own expert presentations on topics related to health, wrapped up this week, and thanks to the generosity of their time and life lessons, the weekly guest speakers have inspired our students to consider their own purpose in new ways.
With the theme “determination” regenerative engineer, Sara Rickards, shared her experiences of being a TEDx speaker with our students.