Connect Director Shares Ideas About Playing to Students’ Strengths at TEDx Event

CNM Connect Executive Director Ann Lyn Hall is encouraging an educational reform movement that plays to students’ strengths, not one that dwells on their weaknesses. “We currently focus on what is broken,” Hall told 300-plus education leaders and supporters at the recent 2013 TEDxABQED event. “I want us to focus on what is working… Drawing on strengths leads to transformational change.”
July 16, 2015

The event took place at the African American Performing Arts Center in Albuquerque on Jan. 11.

Hall was one of 17 inspired speakers who shared their unique perspectives on education through the in-vogue TEDx format, which calls on speakers to convey engaging ideas in 18 minutes or less. The mission of TEDxABQ is to “unlock the creative & economic potential of New Mexicans through events that draw out inspiring ideas, generate meaningful connections and foster innovation.”

“I was honored to have been chosen to speak at the first Albuquerque TedX event on education,” Hall said. “There were some amazing speakers who represented a variety of perspectives on education from all grade levels and disciplines.”

TEDx events, which have taken place in 1,200 cities and 133 countries, are off-shoots of the original TED events, which were born in Silicon Valley as a way to disseminate “ideas worth spreading,” TED’s slogan. The original TED events focused on technology, entertainment and design, and some past speakers included Bill Clinton, Jane Goodall, Bill Gates, Al Gore and Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. The videos are made available free online, which has spawned a growing, global audience.

Hall’s speech, the video of which will be posted online soon, focused on the idea of nurturing students’ strengths. She cited research that says focusing on a student’s area of strength leads to improvements of up to 400 percent, while focusing on areas of weakness leads to improvements of up to 20 percent.

“My goal in my talk was to provide a different way of looking at education – to see what is going right in our educational system and to focus on growing those areas,” Hall said. “Unfortunately, I think education is often portrayed in very negative ways. But I’ve seen over and over again the amazing educators that we have at CNM – and I wanted to find a way to acknowledge that work.

“I wanted the audience to understand that at CNM we purposefully connect our students to their strengths.”

Click on the following link for more information about TEDxABQED.