Becoming TED Speakers in School: Student Development Through Participation in TED-Ed Clubs

Melina Furman, Inés Taylor, Ariel Merpert, Tobías Yatche, Mariana Jacobs, Melania Ottaviano, Celina Benegas, Mariana Luzuriaga


This case study explores adolescents’ experiences of participating in TED-Ed Clubs in Buenos Aires, Argentina. TED-Ed Clubs is a school-based, extracurricular program in which 12- to 18-year-old youth develop and deliver a “TED-style” talk to their peers, teachers and parents. In particular, we explore changes in participants’ self-development, communication skills and overall school experience. We conducted in-depth interviews with teachers, principals and focus groups of students from 8 representative schools. We find that students struggled considerably to establish what they had to say that was worth sharing with others, and—after a long process of self-reflection—ended up developing talks which were deeply personal in nature. Overcoming the challenge of finding and presenting a topic provided participating adolescents with a sense of accomplishment and pride. In addition, all participants reported changes in relationships with peers and adults, particularly with regards to discovering new sides of themselves and others through listening empathetically. Teachers also reported seeing their students through new lenses as they revealed new sides of themselves which had not been shown in other academic spaces. Overall, we find that the TED-Ed Clubs program appears to create new spaces in schools where adolescents can grow as individuals, and develop their own voice.


social development; organized activities (after-school, extracurricular); education/school; adolescence; self-image

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Copyright (c) 2019 Melina Furman, Inés Taylor, Ariel Merpert, Tobías Yatche, Mariana Jacobs, Melania Ottaviano, Celina Benegas, Mariana Luzuriaga

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