UOW graduate shares Punchbowl High triumph at TEDx Sydney

A University of Wollongong graduate will share his vision this weekend on how to transform disadvantaged schools to engage students before they are expelled or drop out.

Jihad Dib was 33 when he became one of the youngest principals in NSW seven years ago.

Since his appointment at Punchbowl Boys High, the school has turned trouble-makers into triumphant high school graduates.

On Saturday, Mr Dib will be part of TEDx Sydney, part of a global string of annual conferences on ‘‘ideas worth spreading’’, to be held at the Opera House.

The high school principal said it was more important students graduated as good citizens than becoming doctors or lawyers.

He believed hard work and belief in yourself and your students was paramount.

‘‘You have to believe that people can improve and students will repay that faith,’’ he said.

‘‘[Young teachers] have to maintain their idealism; once you become cynical about education, you need to leave.

‘‘I think people don’t realise how much hard work it is but you just have to remember why you went into teaching.’’

Other topics at TEDx will include how to use maths to find the perfect sex partner, or perhaps make failure your best friend.

UOW’s research office spokeswoman, Melissa Coade, said TEDx was more than a lecture, it was an experience.

‘‘Speakers often spark discussions about the way we should reflect on our lives... instead of the same drab line that’s toed in public debates and forums.’’

Ms Coade’s favourite talk by Candy Chang details the speaker’s experience of a friend’s death.

‘‘The death inspired her to create a community movement where people wrote on walls a headline of their bucket list,’’ she said.

‘‘Something sad and personal became a community and global movement.’’

The broadcast starts at 9am and finishes at 6.30pm at Building 20, Lecture Theatre 4, opposite the library. 

Go here to register.

TEDx Topics

TEDx Sydney has lined up 16 speakers. Among them are:

• Barat Ali Batoor, photographer and Hazara refugee: His journey as a refugee, travelling from Afghanistan to Australia, through photos.

• Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief: How failure can test your boundaries.

• Stella Young, disability activist: Everything you thought about disability is wrong.

• Mary Jerram, recently retired state coroner: What’s the difference between vengeance and justice?

• Cyndi Shannon Weckert, director, Schizophrenia Research Laboratory, NeuRA: Brand new research around schizophrenia treatment.

• Tim and Judy Sharp, artist and his mother: Following Tim’s journey since diagnosis with autism.

• Jihad Dib, principal, Punchbowl Boys High School: Strategic engagement to transform a school and community in one of Sydney’s more disadvantaged suburbs.

• Clio Cresswell, mathematician: The surprising relationship between mathematics and sex.

• Richard Banati, scientist: Is recycling actually good for the planet?

10 most popular TEDx talks (as of the start of this year)

1. Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity (2006)

2. Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight (2008): 14,343,197

3. Simon Sinek on how great leaders inspire action (2010)

4. Brene Brown talks about the power of vulnerability (2010)

5. Amy Cuddy on how your body language shapes who you are (2012)

6. Pranav Mistry on the thrilling potential of SixthSense (2009)

7. Tony Robbins asks why we do what we do (2006)

8. David Gallo’s underwater astonishments (2007)

9. Mary Roach on 10 things you didn’t know about orgasm (2009)

10. Daniel Pink on the surprising science of motivation (2009)

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