Imagine choosing an interesting and debate-worthy topic, thinking critically about it, and then standing up in front of a hundred people and wittingly describing your point of view on the subject. Eight students from the International School of Florence challenged weak knees and did just that on January 13.
In the seventh edition of TEDxISF Youth, guided by biology teacher Michael Landolfa, students took on the challenge of a TED Talk. As the TED organization mission statement describes, “TED is on a mission to discover and spread ideas that spark imagination, embrace possibility and catalyze impact”. Mr. Landolfa comments that the origins of this ISF tradition came from a former student and portrays a “shining example of ISF student agency and student leadership”.
The benefit of starting this depth of personal reflection at an early age is indisputable. At the International School of Florence, students are encouraged to foster their critical thinking about the topics that are important to them as well as gaining the confidence to present their ideas publicly.
During the talks, a wide range of topics were covered, from pressing world issues, such as the war in Ukraine and women’s health, to more philosophical questions, like the quest for happiness through cultural studies. In addition to the students, two ISF alumni and a parent also presented, highlighting the importance of wider community engagement in ISF education.
Parent Andrea Culletto opened the evening with her study on health and happiness and she commended Mr. Landolfa for his support and guidance and for making the challenge fun. In her words, the students displayed “phenomenal organisation and composure in putting on a very professional event”.
Presenting her thoughts on education and topics such as standardized testing, grade 10 student, Coco, described the satisfaction of learning the craft of public speaking. She is also taking advantage of other ISF initiatives, including Model United Nations (debate) and EU simulation committees. Other presenters, such as Alisiya in Grade 12, reflected on her concepts of national identity and the future of Ukraine.
The TED-licensed event followed the TEDx-specific guidelines for curation and commitment to “ideas worth spreading”. The program was enhanced by student musical performances, and student MCs and the evening proved TED-worthy for its content, diversity and delivery.