Ted Talks

These are TED Talks presentations given by teachers who discuss teaching experiences and how to become a more effective teacher.

Rita Pierson: Every Kid Needs a Champion

Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, “They don’t pay me to like the kids.” Her response: “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.'” A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level.

Ken Robinson: How to Escape Education’s Death Valley

Sir Ken Robinson outlines three principles that are crucial for the human mind to flourish, and how the current educational culture works against them. In a funny, stirring talk he tells us how to get out of the educational “death valley” we now face, and how to nurture our youngest generations with a climate of possibility.

Angela Lee Duckworth: Grit: the Power of Passion and Persereverance

Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of “grit” as a predictor of success.

Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership — starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Wright brothers .

Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation

Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories and maybe, a way forward.

Christopher Edmin: Teach Teachers How to Create Magic

What do rap shows, barbershop banter and Sunday services have in common? As Christopher Emdin says, they all hold the secret magic to enthrall and teach at the same time, and it’s a skill we often don’t teach to educators. A longtime teacher, now a science advocate and cofounder of Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. with the GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, Emdin offers a vision to make the classroom come alive.

Tyler Dewitt: Hey Science Teachers, Make it Fun

High school science teacher Tyler DeWitt was ecstatic about a lesson plan on bacteria (how cool!) and was devastated when his students hated it. The problem was the textbook; it was impossible to understand. He delivers a rousing call for science teachers to ditch the jargon and extreme precision, and instead make science sing through stories and demonstrations. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

Dan Meyer: Math Class Needs a Makeover

Today’s math curriculum is teaching students to expect — and excel at — paint-by-numbers classwork, robbing kids of a skill more important than solving problems: formulating them. Dan Meyer shows classroom-tested math exercises that prompt students to stop and think.

Ramsey Musallam: Three Rules to Spark Learning

It took a life-threatening condition to jolt chemistry teacher Ramsey Musallam out of ten years of “pseudo-teaching” to understand the true role of the educator: to cultivate curiosity. In a fun and personal talk, Musallam gives three rules to spark imagination and learning, and get students excited about how the world works.

Stephen Ritz: A Teacher Growing Green in the South Bronx

A whirlwind of energy and ideas, Stephen Ritz is a teacher in New York’s tough South Bronx, where he and his kids grow lush gardens for food, greenery — and jobs. Just try to keep up with this New York treasure as he spins through the many, many ways there are to grow hope in a neighborhood many have written off, or in your own.

Kakenya Ntaiya: A Girl Who Demanded School

Kakenya Ntaiya made a deal with her father: She would undergo the traditional Maasai rite of passage of female circumcision if he would let her go to high school. Ntaiya tells the fearless story of continuing on to college, and of working with her village elders to build a school for girls in her community. It’s the educational journey of one that altered the destiny of 125 young women. (Filmed at TEDxMidAtlantic.)

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.

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