It’s hard to believe that this is my 5th annual collection of TED Talks for teachers. Every year it’s increasingly difficult to narrow the list to just five TED Talks. In addition to new TED Talks showing up each year, I’m always discovering older talks that catch my attention. This year’s first talk can only be accessed through YouTube as it sadly doesn’t show up on ted.com.
These TED Talks for Teachers shouldn’t be missed by anyone working in education. This collection covers a range of topics from the problems of belittling student voice and confronting imposter syndrome, to myths that are still embraced in classrooms, to inspiring learning and innovation.
I’m 17 – Kate Simonds
This hidden gem of a TED talk was brought to my attention by George Couros. Simonds makes a convincing case against the “constant belittling of student voices.”
Look at our education system; as students, we have no say in what we learn or how we learn it, yet we’re expected to absorb it all, take it all in, and be able to run the world someday. We’re expected to raise our hands to use the restroom, then 3 months later be ready to go to college or have a full time job, support ourselves and live on our own. It’s not logical.
How Students of Color Confront Impostor Syndrome – Dena Simmons
The majority of teachers in U.S. classrooms today are white. The majority of students are not. Simmons delivers a moving talk and some important reminders and advice to educators so their classrooms are places where all students can feel proud of who they are.
10 Myths About Psychology: Debunked – Ben Ambridge
It’s hard to believe how prevalent some of these ideas are in today’s classroom. I won’t spoil them all, but here’s a sneak peak at one. Learning styles – “the whole thing is a complete myth. Learning styles are made up and are not supported by scientific evidence.”
3 Rules to Spark Learning – Ramsey Musallam
Learn how one teacher has transformed his teaching from “dehumanizing chatter” to lessons that spark learning. Musallam effectively reduces good lesson planning to three simple rules.
If we as educators leave behind this simple role as disseminators of content and embrace a new paradigm as cultivators of curiosity and inquiry, we just might bring a little bit more meaning to their school day, and spark their imagination.
How Great Leaders Inspire Action – Simon Sinek
Many of the most innovative educators I’ve had the privilege of working with make reference to “Start with Why.” It’s a great read that pulls examples from Apple, the Wright brothers, and Martin Luther King. This talk is a very succinct introduction to Simon Sinek’s observations.
Sadly innovation has become a buzz word in education, but with teachers facing an ever-growing list of demands it’s easy to understand why we education is largely stuck spinning it’s wheels and only seeing small pockets of innovation. What separates innovative businesses, people, and schools from other equally qualified organizations? They all have a clearly defined “why” that is at the center of everything they do. Not some meaningless mission statement, but a burning “why.” Does your school know its “why”?
Start with Why – “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
For more ideas worth spreading, check out
The Original 5 Ted Talks That Changed My Classroom (2013)5 More TED Talks That Changed My Classroom (2014)5 TED Talks for Teachers (2015)5 TED Talks for Educators (2016)
What are your favorite TED Talks?
Share in the comments below or on Twitter.