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The Reflection

Gull Lake students take on TED Talks

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On November 8-9 and 12-14, Gull Lake Seniors of Sheila Wood’s 12A English classes, each presented their very own TED Talk recreations, making the Media Center their stage. While the assignment was technically considered a persuasive speech, the presentations offered the students something more than just a few points, mindlessly checked off of a rubric.

(Picture 1) Justin Lyons Mentally Prepares to Deliver His TED Talk. Photo by Zach Zahrt

The beauty of this project was that except for a few minor differences, the students virtually accomplish everything that the legitimate non-profit organization aims to accomplish through sharing (see mission statement below).  

TEDs (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) official mission statement: “TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.”

The student’s combined slide shows, speech and intellectual thoughts to best express the issue/advice that they individually deemed  important enough to share.

Unfortunately however, often public schooling better prepare students for uniformity than it does for creativity. With set curriculums, often large class sizes, and limits on creative liberty, it is not difficult to see how those who attend public school might end up in similar circumstances/environments post graduation.  Sitting down with one of Mrs. Woods students/TED speaker Justin Lyons (seen in picture 1), we discussed his presentation and the decision behind his TED topic.

Zahrt: Mr. Lyons your Ted Talk was entitled “Being Inspired is a Chore”, could you elaborate a bit more on your chosen topic, for those of whom were unable to attend the presentation.  

Lyons: “ Ya certainly, well you see I find that in today’s world, where so many unyielding systems exist, societal or otherwise, it is difficult for an individual to escape the path that has been virtually forced upon them.”

Zahrt: When it comes to public schooling environments, do you feel as if you’re provided with enough flexibility and encouragement to pursue your own future uninhibited?

Connor Budek gets into it as Justin Lyons presents his TED Talk “Being Bored is a Chore”
Taken by: Zach Zahrt

Lyons: Now the problem with schooling that particularly bothers me, is not the the amount of encouragement provided or schedule flexibility, but instead the lack of newfound passion in the classroom, the lack of unprecedented occurrences; every school day feels as if its been blended together to form a nine months of inconsequential occurrences.

Zahrt: Did you enjoy this TED Talk alternative to a standard persuasive essay?

Lyons: Oh ya, I enjoyed this much more because when your writing an essay, it may likely never be read out-loud, whereas a presentation you actually have the opportunity to project your own tone of voice and train of thought upon the essay not just follow the rubric step-by-step.  If you want to convince someone of something you don’t give them an instruction manual to read, it’s much simpler.

To watch TED talks and learn more about the non-profit visit THIS link.



This is my first year on The Reflection’s staff, currently writing in the sports’ section.  Outside of school, I am an avid reader of environmental and political articles. Being always up for a debate or any chance to make my opinion hear, I enjoy writing opinion pieces.  An avid fan of the Mola Mola Sunfish, I wish to pursue a career in the marine biology field. I look forward to uncovering the truth surrounding all the dirty deeds that go on around here.


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