In May of 2013 I was asked to speak on TED's first ever TV special, TED Talks Education, As a full-time classroom science teacher, I am confident that any number of my current colleagues at Sacred Heart Cathedral, future colleagues at Sonoma Academy, or the myriad of other teachers I have collaborated with in a professional development context, could have delivered the same message about the importance of cultivating student curiosity and inquiry.
Since TED, I have had the opportunity to work with many teachers I would have never met before, and I am so grateful to my colleagues for allowing me the freedom to connect with other teachers and students around the globe. However, staying grounded as a full-time teacher has always been, and will continue to be, central to the way I define my vocation and efficacy as a teacher. More importantly, it has given me the opportunity and desire to empower my students in the way I was empowered. This desire was the catalyst of TEDxYouth@SHC.
A 100% student developed, curated, directed and produced event, TEDxYouth@SHC 2016, our second TED event, was a huge success. Topics included Sex Education, HIV Awareness, Gender Equity, Jazz Piano, Building Homes, Racial and Religious Misapprehension, Speech and Debate, and much more! In 16 tears of teaching, TEDxYouth@SHC 2015 and 2016 have been, without a doubt, the most powerful experiences I have had as an educator. Moral of the story: If you want something done well, put it in the hands of your students! It took 16 years to truly learn that lesson.
Contrary to popular belief, there are MANY times when direct instruction is an appropriate and very powerful responsive tool. From an inquiry perspective, I don't believe it should come first, but that does not mean it shouldn't come at all. Below is a hack I'm using to have some fun with the lecture process, with the goal of moving me from the front, to the back of the class.