Everybody loves TED talks, but finding new ones can be overwhelming when faced with the sheer number (the TED webpage claims there are over 2100 in over 100 languages).
So here are 5 TED talks teachers have found useful in the classroom. If you have one you’ve used, reply to us and let us know!
- Chimamanda Adichie’s “The Danger of a Single Story”
This one can be used when teaching Night or any other text where one group makes assumptions about another group. Our entire tenth grade curriculum uses this as the foundation of the year, where we also teach Things Fall Apart and Persepolis and American Born Chinese.
- Brene Brown’s “The Power of Vulnerability”
This one works well when you want to talk about characters and how we might define them–are the wholehearted, do they feel worthy? My intern introduced this to me when she was teaching The KiteRunner and it gave us an interesting framework to discuss the differences between Amir and Hassan. We cut out about 5 minutes near the end when she was talking about some of her personal experiences in her job.
- Grace Lin’s “The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child’s Bookshelf”
This one was just uploaded and the message is powerful. Lin is a children’s book author and she talks about her experience growing up in Rhode Island as the only Asian-American girl in her school. She explains the importance of representation in literature to offer both mirrors and windows to children. Also, this is a shorter talk at only about 12 minutes, so it would work well in the classroom as well–it could be a nice start to a choice book unit.
- Garr Reynolds’s “Why Storytelling Matters”
This is essentially a TED talk about how to make better presentations, but he explains how incorporating storytelling elements can enhance your presentations. he quotes Andrew Stanton who tells us “we have to make the audience care…show empathy for your audience.”
- Andrew Stanton’s “The Clues to a Great Story”
TED talk number 4 quotes from this TED talk. It is a great TED talk, but it may not be good to show the entire thing to students–it starts with a dirty joke that would not be school appropriate. However, he says then, storytelling is joke-telling: “knowing that everything you’re saying is leading to a singular goal.”