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How To Reimagine The Future Of Education With Priyam Baruah

Priyam Baraugh tedxfolsom

This interview with Priyam Baruah is part of the TEDxFolsom Reimagine Series, showcasing global changemakers, innovators, and thought-leaders who will speak at the upcoming TEDxFolsom event.  

Share with us a little bit about your background and what inspired you to apply to speak at TEDxFolsom? 

My name is Priyam Baruah, and I am a senior at Vista Del Lago High School; throughout the years, I’ve developed a passion for research and mentorship. Since this is officially my last year in high school, I’ve been doing quite a bit of reflection over these past couple of months on the kind of student I’ve become after so many years. If there is a group of people I’m incredibly grateful for, it’s the teachers that have transformed me into the student I am today as a way to give back; I’ve even taken up my own efforts outside of school to be a mentor for others. After sitting in so many classrooms all these years, I was inspired to apply to speak at TEDx Folsom to share my educational journey and how we can reimagine education for future generations to come.

Without giving away too much – Can you provide a short summary of what your topic for Reimagine is about? 

My topic is reimagining education. After having the experience of teaching numerous different kinds of classes in subjects ranging from biology to public speaking to even dance, I’ve developed this formula over time that has allowed me to pinpoint what it is that makes students excited to learn. With that idea in mind, my talk explores what makes students build the drive to learn and why it’s so important that we cultivate such experiences among young students. 

What was your inspiration or reflection point to generate this idea worth spreading? 

Currently, I manage a global nonprofit organization, and through this organization, we essentially teach students classes in areas such as essay writing and presenting speech. One very interesting moment I noticed while I was teaching one of my classes was when the students couldn’t understand the idea of writing a thesis statement. And because it was their first time learning what a thesis statement was, I taught it to them in a basic manner as a 1 to 2-sentence phrase that provided one overarching claim backed by three sub-claims. And I noticed the students didn’t grasp the concept so I said “scratch that we’re going to do something different”–I wanted to know what everyone’s favorite movies were so I asked them to tell me their favorite movie and three reasons as to why it’s their favorite. All the students were so excited to do something outside of the curriculum. Still, more importantly, they didn’t realize that as they were telling me their favorite movie and three reasons why it was their favorite, they actually created a thesis statement. Essentially what came out of this experience is that I realized that building not only teacher-student relationships but also human-to-human relationships is essential in transforming education.

What are you looking forward to most with your talk? 

I am most looking forward to reaching an audience of not just teenagers but people of varying backgrounds coming from very different experiences with education and hoping to find a possible commonality that everyone shares. Everyone has a core favorite memory of a class they’ve been in sometime in their childhood, and through this talk, I’m hoping for everyone to revive these same memories so we can all find the commonality of what made us excited to learn a particular subject–even if we come from incredibly different experiences with education.

How do you foresee your TEDxFolsom talk impacting viewers both locally and globally? 

I see it as a gateway to finding common ground with mentors and students alike in order to modify the current educational system.  We live in an age where curiosity and innovation are the norm in the fast-changing world. This means we need to transform education to use active methods instead of passive ones to uplift students in such a way that makes them excited to learn. 

If there is one nugget of information you want someone to walk away with that view your TEDx Talk, what would that be? 

The main takeaway I sincerely hope the audience takes away from the talk is understanding just how drastic the impact education has on molding the future of our society.  I believe that education is a major linkage between a student and the real world, where students can learn to find their passion, build their creativity, intellectually grow, and develop empathy. However, in order to fulfill the purposes that education serves, we all need to have the malleability to become mentors that understand what it is that truly makes students excited to learn. 

What’s the best way for people to reach out to you to learn more about your TEDx talk topic? 

You can follow me on my LinkedIn account: 

Priyam Baruah

Please reach out if you have any questions. 


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