Collage art featuring TED-Ed's Marisa Aubin posing thought-provoking questions for students and teachers at an EF Global Leadership Summit

Marisa Aubin, who’s a senior programs manager at TED-Ed, believes great ideas can come from anyone at any time.

That’s why TED-Ed leads workshops at EF’s Global Leadership Summits. At these Summits, students and educators are tasked with creating and presenting real-world solutions to global challenges, such as environmental sustainability and society’s relationship with technology. And in the TED-Ed workshops, students learn how they can best share their ideas on these important topics, with the idea that they’ll return home and have an even greater impact on the world.

We chatted with Marisa for her take on building empathy, spreading ideas, and developing thought-provoking questions for students.

TedEd x EF

How does TED-Ed’s mission come to life at an EF Summit?
At the Summit, the students are on this journey together; the energy is buzzing and it feels like the perfect time to reflect and write down a clear idea. They’ll be at their tables, sharing what they each care about, and the conversations will steer toward observations they’ve made during their travels. One student noted how, on their EF tour in Amsterdam, everyone was biking and not using straws or plastic bags. Noticing this meant they cared. And now they can ask, “What perspective can I bring to this? How can I take these observations and impact my own community?” Everyone has their own unique voice, and TED-Ed loves to help shape them through these conversations.

What does having a wide range of experiences bring to these conversations?
When you’re in a room with a hundred 16- and 17-year-olds, there are so many different ideas about their relationships with their friends and family, their health, the environment, their education and more. And I think the process of developing your own ideas is made even stronger by hearing other people’s different ideas. A ripple effect happens, and empathy is a huge skill we hope students will build through this process.

A group of high-schoolers sharing experiences and answering the kinds of thought-provoking questions for students that are posted an EF Global Leadership Summit

A group of students sharing experiences at the EF Global Leadership Summit in Berlin.

How do you hope to see students and teachers approach storytelling during and after your workshop?
At the core of what we do, there’s the idea that anyone, at any time, anywhere, has an idea worth spreading. People always say, “Give people a voice,” but I like inviting as a better term. We’re inviting them to share. It’s not saying, “You have a voice now.” It’s saying, “You’ve had a voice, and now you have a place to share it.”

What advice do you have for teachers looking to develop thought-provoking questions for students and hoping to amplify the voices of a diverse classroom?
Students aren’t always really asked what they’re passionate about so directly, but when a teacher uses the TED-Ed Student Talk curriculum,  developing ideas together can change the relationship between any teacher and student. It sounds simple, but getting together and having the conversation of, “Who are you, and what do you care about?” is a powerful starting point.



Don’t leave any future leaders behind

Our EF Global Leadership Summits are full of exploration, introspection, collaboration, and thought-provoking questions for students to dream up their own answers to.

Robert Whalley

Robert is a designer at EF. He enjoys discovering new foods in new locales, destinations of the coastal variety, and—hot take—the aisle seat.

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