Great TED Talks for English Teachers

TED Talks are videos of thought-provoking, yet brief presentations given at the Technology, Entertainment, and Design conference. TED has also licensed independently organized events (TEDx) across the world. I got to attend TEDxNYED in NYC last March. It was an incredible event. The effect of so many incredible speakers in rapid-fire succession was brain overload (in a good way).

I’ve pulled some TED talks I think might provoke some good discussion in the English classroom. Christian Long asked his students to create their own TED-style talks as a part of his English class. It’s a great way to incorporate research and presentation skills.

Danger of A Single Story

Incredibly powerful presentation from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about danger of relying on just one perspective. I’ve written about this talk in an earlier post.

The Politics of Fiction

Elif Shafak on the way fiction can be used to transcend identity politics

Collecting Stories

Jonathan Harris talks about collecting stories from the internet and life.

The Thrilling Potential of Sixth Sense Technology

This talk isn’t directly related to English but would make a great companion to a dystopian or science fiction unit. I watched with my sixth graders and then we talked about how such a device might affect the future of education. Pranav Mistry developed the device in less than six months.

These are just a few of the hundreds of TED talks. If you’ve got others to recommend, please add them in the comments.

EDIT: I was reminded of several other TED talks when I cross-posted this on the English Companion Ning.

Metaphorically Speaking

James Geary illustrates the power of metaphor in our lives. This is also a great video for seeing Prezi in action.

Redefining the Dictionary

Erin discusses the changing nature of dictionaries

The Beauty of Data Visualization

I love The Visual Miscellaneum! This TED talk by its author author David McCandless gives students a chance to consider how we represent information.

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6 thoughts on “Great TED Talks for English Teachers

  1. I used the Adichie talk to discuss the single story in my World Lit last fall and the students videotaped replies, using their own experience of the single story’s negative effects. Great start to the year.

  2. Hello!
    I am an education specialist at a education service center in Texas. We are creating “process guides” for teachers who wish to implement innovative practices in their teaching. This post would be great for our guide on using TED talk in the classroom.
    May I link out to this post from our process guide? I would be happy to send your team a link to our finished product.
    Thank you so much and looking forward to hearing from you,

    Janet Hester

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