“Be the change you want to see in the world.” This infamous quote said by Gandhi was the inspiration for my grade 12 students’ culminating task. Seeing as they’re leaving high school in 2 weeks (waaaaaaah), and entering the real world, bringing awareness to injustice in the world and creating a plan for social action feels very timely and appropriate for them. The students used their novel of choice as a starting point to select a social issue they were interested in, do some research, and then they presented “TED Talks” on the subject. The goal? To inspire and make their peers care. No easy feat today, considering the vast majority of teenagers are blind to what’s going on in the world outside of their comfortable, social-media obsessed bubbles.
Well, after viewing these presentations, I can confirm that there is indeed a ton of hope for our future. My students really conveyed their passion about these topics, ranging from poverty, mental health, racism, sexism, gender identity, sex work, religious fanaticism, and drug usage. They presented some very eye opening research on the subjects, varying from facts, statistics, case studies, and even some personal anecdotes, and I honestly left the presentations feeling like these 17 and 18 year olds shared insight and perspectives well beyond their age and realm of comprehension.
I honestly love what I do so much, not because I aspire to inspire students, but because the students inspire me. I’m so proud of their awareness and think so many of them have incredibly bright futures ahead of them!
This pair used Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to show the implications poverty has on mental health.
This pair used course concepts and research to examine religious fanaticism and its repercussions on children. They also posed a plan for social action with some interesting, tangible solutions.