My Takeaway from TEDx Norwich ED

TEDx Norwich ED

On Saturday I ventured over to Norwich for the TEDx ED event. I went with my friend Sarah, who runs a great company called Plain Sailing; she helps people understand their motivations in life. I HIGHLY recommend her training.

I’d never been to a TEDx event before so I wasn’t sure what to expect, except to come away inspired and having networked with people passionate about the things I’m passionate about. Both of these things happened.

As someone who has a lot of experience in running events, I want to point out first and foremost that the organisers and the volunteers involved were excellent. For a very small ticket price, we had a wonderful day of talks, FOUR meals (breakfast, a banging lunch, TWO cake breaks), and a goody bag. The whole day was seamless.

The theme of the event was Dream Big, and while it’s an education event, only a handful of the talks were 100% education based. Motivation, achievement and mental health were all strong themes of the day too.

Though there were many amazing speakers, I’ve made a list of the ones I liked the most. I am very conscious that having watched talks from 10am – 7pm, I grew less engaged as the day went on, and that most of the female speakers were left to the end, therefore many of my top picks are men. I did tweet through the event to point out that it was only by halfway through the event that we had out first female speaker.

Ian Hacon was the first speaker and spoke about the mindset you have to have to achieve big. When he went into energy management, it really touched a nerve with me as I do tend to take on too much and aim a little too high. He said “there’s no point in dreaming it if you’re going to fall over trying to achieve it”.

I loved his overall message of aiming high and dreaming big “you and I will get much further by dreaming than not dreaming at all”. When I speak with students all I want them to do is to try to achieve a bit more. Look a bit further afield. To dream a little bigger. Ian really embodied what I try to tell students.

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Jonathan Drane is a former paralympian and continued the theme of turning up and trying. My ultimate favourite quote from him is when the host of the event said that he was really inspired by Jonathan, to which Jonathan said “you have known me for just a few minutes, I don’t know why you are saying that!” His honesty was really refreshing.

Jonathan had followed a speaker that I didn’t warm to very much, one who was talking about how it’s luck that makes someone achieve, and that someone should talk less, listen more and let go of their ego. I loved that Jonathan smashed this to bits by talking about the importance of trying which I heavily support. We need egos to be able to step up to the table, to turn up and try.

Angela Brown was by far the strongest speaker of the day, and gave a very influential talk on how to create a nourishing environment in schools. She talks very openly about overwhelm (again, something that I am not a stranger of) and highlights that our young people are experiencing this too. That by having overwhelmed teachers, “I wonder if overwhelm is manifested at a much earlier age”.

The last speaker of the day was Vivienne Porritt, who talked about how we use the word “normal”. She went through breast cancer, and will soon be deemed to be “normal” again, but she argues that there is no definitive meaning to the word, that it belongs on the washing machine and not assigned to a human. She made us all promise to not use the word normal about a human again. I will try my hardest to do so.

There were also talks from teens and children which I absolutely loved. I cried ALL THE TEARS OF JOY when they did so. I love nothing more than a young person being bloody amazing. There was Mia who talked about how she’s dreaming big of being an actress, Finn who talked about his passion for engineering, and Rosie who wants to take the world in.

I’m not entirely sure if the talks will be made available online, but do follow the above people to keep up to date with their hard work.

Again, the only thing I was really disappointed with was the gender split; that we had to wait so long for a female speaker to come up on stage, and also that the men’s talks were largely idea giving, and the women’s talks were often story telling of a difficult situation they had been through. I really hope next year we can see more women with big ideas and more men talking about mental health.

I’m really glad I went, and I can’t wait for next year – perhaps I’ll even submit my own application to speak!

Next year’s theme is to “look again”. What do you think we need to look at again in education?

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