Jefferson MS Teacher Rocks Into Upcoming TED Talk
Robb Janov to share ideas at TEDxABQ Saturday, Sept. 8.
September 4, 2012
Students often are intimidated by their classroom environment, but teachers can engage them in unique ways that connect them with their studies. That’s the message teacher Robb Janov is taking to his TEDxABQ presentation Saturday, Sept. 8, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
Janov is participating in an event sponsored by Technology, Entertainment and Design—TED—a non-profit organization that brings together “ideas worth spreading” into forums around the world. TED has held 4,300 talks in 1,200 cities in 133 countries. Janov applied to give a presentation after attending last year’s TEDxABQ event.
TEDxABQ 2012: Engage Your Passion is a local version of the TED Talk, which will be held at the National Hispanic Cultural Center with an expected audience of 700. The event is sold out, but listeners can find a live stream online or watch a simulcast at one of several locations in the area.
Janov said TED brings in “16 or 17 speakers who have a unique perspective, to tell a story and, hopefully, inspire others.”
Janov created the Rock and Rhythm Band at Jefferson Middle School, a one-of-a-kind music grouping of as many as 30 students in a rock band. He teaches three beginning classes and two second-year classes daily. Students have an opportunity to play electric guitar, bass, drums or keyboard. It’s geared toward students who love music but don’t read it or play an instrument.
“It’s a dramatic alternative to traditional music classes,” Janov said.
Janov, who will play his electric violin and show a brief video of one of his classes during his 12-minute presentation, said he intends his message to reach beyond his non-traditional class.
“The culture of the classroom has a big impact on students, and sometimes they’re intimidated by that environment,” he said. “They need to feel like (adults) understand them. We need to address the developmental challenges facing them.”
Janov said students “disconnect” from school because the focus on academic standards comes first. In his unconventional approach—the “unique” piece that appeals to TED and its audience—he believes in engaging and inspiring students first, giving them the confidence to participate and be successful in school.
“If we can inspire kids to be successful and passionate about one thing, it can last all their lives. My thing is music, but teachers can find other ways to get kids more connected with school.”