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Tip of the Week: 5 TED Talks Every Teacher Should See

I love TED talks. They’re like the perfect educational appetizer. All of them are quick and easy to digest, they look great, and they make you hungry to learn more.

The problem?

There are just so darn many of them. And it’s too easy getting sucked into the TED talk black hole where you end up watching for hours. But you only have 20 minutes. Which one do you watch?

So in no particular order, and for no particular reason other than these are a few of my favorites, here are five TED talks that every teacher should see:

Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity
In the ultimate classic education themed TED talk, Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity. He challenges the way we’re educating our children and champions a radical rethinking of our school systems in order to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.

Liz Coleman’s call to reinvent liberal arts education
Bennington president Liz Coleman delivers a call-to-arms for radical reform in higher education. Bucking the trend to push students toward increasingly narrow areas of study, she proposes a truly cross-disciplinary education – one that dynamically combines all areas of study to address the great problems of our day.

Diana Laufenberg: How to learn? From mistakes
Diana Laufenberg shares three surprising things she has learned about teaching – including a key insight about learning from mistakes.

Mae Jemison on teaching arts and sciences together
Mae Jemison is an astronaut, a doctor, an art collector, and a dancer. Telling stories from her own education and from her time in space, she calls on educators to teach both the arts and sciences, both intuition and logic, as one – to create bold thinkers. In 1992, Mae Jemison was the first African-American woman to go into space. She’s become a crusader for science education and for a new vision of learning that combines arts and sciences, intuition and logic.

Charles Leadbeater: Education innovation in the slums
Charles Leadbeater went looking for radical new forms of education — and found them in the slums of Rio and Kibera, where some of the world’s poorest kids are finding transformative new ways to learn. And this informal, disruptive new kind of school, he says, is what all schools need to become.

And your extra bonus – cause you can never have enough Sir Ken Robinson.

Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution!
In this poignant, funny follow-up to his fabled 2006 talk, Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for a radical shift from standardized schools to personalized learning — creating conditions where kids’ natural talents can flourish.

Have fun!

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. I like your list. I also like TED but, as I am more sceptical than your average TED presenter, I’m not entirely convinced by their editorial policy: too many bright eyes and bushy tails; not enough dyed-in-the-wool cynicism.

    December 14, 2012
    • glennw #


      TED does seem like a happy place, doesn’t it? But I am still impressed by the range of topics / speakers and enjoy watching.

      I would enjoy seeing your list of both current TED talks as well as your list of who should be a TED talker.



      December 14, 2012
      • I’ll look into that. I liked that Cuddy talk about body language. As for who should be a TED speaker, I would like to see David Gribble: a very interesting man.

        December 16, 2012

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