Skip to content

Ted Talk of the Week

April 20, 2016

download (1)

June 20, 2016: Kang Lee: Can you really tell if a kid is lying?

  • I loved this short little Ted Talk, which starts out with a great joke:
    • I’m going to tell you a story from Mr. Richard Messina, who is my friend and an elementary school principal. He got a phone call one day. The caller says, “Mr. Messina, my son Johnny will not come to school today because he’s sick.”  Mr. Messina asks, “Who am I speaking to, please?”And the caller says, “I am my father.”

  • Here is an interesting fact that shows that lying is a natural part of growing up.
    • We found that regardless of gender, country, religion, at two years of age, 30 percent lie, 70 percent tell the truth about their transgression. At three years of age, 50 percent lie and 50 percent tell the truth. At four years of age, more than 80 percent lie. And after four years of age, most children lie. So as you can see, lying is really a typical part of development.
  • Finally – lying involve vital skills such as mind-reading sbility and self control
    • So if you discover your two-year-old is telling his or her first lie, instead of being alarmed, you should celebrate –because these are skills that allow children to function well in our society.  

May 20, 2016 Carol Dweck: The Power Of Believing That You Can Improve

  • For the record – I think Carol Dweck walks on water.  Her “Growth Mindset paradigm is the cornerstone of my teaching philosophy
  • Dweck begins by explaining the difference between Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset
    • Growth Mindset is the idea that students can always improve and learn no matter what they’ve done previously
      • even their defeats give students new insight into how to do better
      • ignites the learning process
    • Fixed Mindset is a paradigm where students believe that they can’t improve and their grades represent their abilities
      • throws cold water on the fire of learning (too much???)
  • To change this mindset, we, as teachers, need to challenge students in ways where they ultimately will be successful.  According to Dweck, these challenges and victories not only help students gain confidence and change their mindsets, but also help their brains to grow new neurons (neuroplasticity) and become more functional as a result
  • Favorite part: Dweck’s suggestion that instead of writing a bad grade, like a D, on a student’s work, we should write, “Not Yet!

April 14, 2014 Ramsey Musallam: 3 rules to Spark Learning (suggested by @weltyteaching)


  •  Rule number one: Curiosity comes first. Rule number two: Embrace the mess. And rule number three: Practice reflection. 
  • But if instead we have the guts to confuse our students, perplex them, and evoke real questions, through those questions, we as teachers have information that we can use to tailor robust and informed methods of blended instruction.”
    • Love the word “taylor”because it means designing instruction to fit each student.

April 9, 2014  Peter Doolittle: How Your “Working Memory” Makes Sense of the World


  • A great talk about working memory impacts success in school.  The second part of the talk explains strategies for strengthening AWM.
  • Now, the final piece of this, the take-home message from a working memory capacity standpoint is this:what we process, we learn. If we’re not processing life, we’re not living it. Live life. Thank you.”

December 14, 2013 Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world

  • This talk led to an epiphany, which I explored in greater detail on my blog, about the power of technology to improve the quality of my teaching by using simulations and the Flipped Classroom model.
  • McGonigal’s point is this: “When we play a game, we tackle tough challenges with more creativity, more determination, more optimism, and we’re more likely to reach out to others for help.”

December 8, 2013 Salman Khan: Let’s Use Video To Reinvent Education


  • This fantastic talk explored the power of online educational videos and exhorted teachers to consider “flipping” the classroom so content is delivered at home to improve the quality of instruction at school.
  • Bill Gates,’ at the end of the talk, summed it up best, “I think you just got a glimpse of the future of education.”

December 1, 2013 Geoffrey Canana: Our Failing Schools. Enough Is Enough


  • This talk examines the failure of our public schools, why it happens, and what we should do about it.

November 23, 2013 Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Creative Genius


  • This  talk took a while to get going.  For the first ten minutes, I wasn’t quite sure how Gilbert’s speech connected to education, but by the end, it had inspired me.
  • Gilbert argues that cultivating creativing can be difficult when you believe it begins with you.  She relates how challenging writing is when she feels pressured to write something as good as Eat, Pray, Love.  So, Gilbert tries to view creativity the way the Greeks and Romans saw it, as a capricious ghost-like entity that either gifts or withholds genius.  Knowing that she isn’t the only one responsible calms her and helps to sustain the writing process.
  • The same can be said of our students.  When students believe learning is solely dependent on their intellects  and abilities, then the pressure, which has the potential to produce tremendous anxiety, falls  solely on their shoulders.  Students who don’t immediately master new skills or concepts often will blame themselves, which has the potential to dampen their desire to learn.  While I’m a big believer in students being responsible for their work, I also believe, as teachers, we need to do everything in our power to help our students experience success.  If teachers are able to convince students there are many factors that contribute to learning, it takes the pressure off of the students, and they are more present for learning.

November 16, 2013 Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover


  • While I’m not a math teacher, I loved Dan’s talk and found it to be incredibly applicable to improving the teaching of history.  As educators, we need to create lessons that force students to think critically and present them with opportunities to become “patient problem solvers”.
  • Favorite line: “Can I ask you to please recall a time when you really loved something — a movie, an album, a song or a book — and you recommended it wholeheartedly to someone you also really liked, and you anticipated that reaction, you waited for it, and it came back, and the person hated it? So, by way of introduction, that is the exact same state in which I spent every working day of the last six years.”

November 10, 2013 Sir Ken Robinson is the most most popular Ted presenter.


  • His humorous speeches not only amuse but inspire.  If I were to chose the person I would most like to come to a faculty meeting, it would by Robinson hands down.  You owe it to yourself as an educator to listen  to his words of wisdom.  Enjoy!
    • Do School’s Kill Creativity (2007)
      • This talk, which is the most single listened to speech on Ted, focuses on why teaching creativity is more important than teaching content.
    • Bring On The Learning Revolution (2010)
      • Middle school doesn’t have to be the worst three years of a person’s life.  If schools provide students with opportunities to explore their passions and determine what makes them special, the middle school experience is radically altered and students benefit.
      • The story about the fireman is beyond description
    • How To Escape Education’s Death Valley (2013)
      • Differentiation makes all the difference

November 3, 2013 Jacob Barnett: Forget What You Know


  • “For the next twenty-four hours, don’t learn anything!  You are not allowed to learn anything for the next twenty-four hours.  However, what I would like you to do… is to go into some field… and think about that field instead of learning about that field.  And instead of being a student of that field, be the field.”  That’s great advice.

October 27, 2013 Sugata Mitra: The Child-Driven Education (2010) and Build A School In The Cloud (2013)


  • Both of these talks are absolutely fantastic.  They are funny, insightful, and will fill you with hope!  Both talks focus on what happens when teachers get out of the way and let children do what they do naturally – learn!

  • Favorite line: “If children have interest, then education happens.”

October 20, 2013 Ian Gilbert


  • “As soon as you say to a child ‘O.K. You think this.  Tell me why you think it?’  It’s like opening a bit of window in their heads.  And you see their thinking in action in a way you don’t get from the traditional teaching model of I’m going to give you my ideas, I’m going to give you my thoughts.”

October 13, 2013 Taylor Mali: What Do Teachers Make


  • I remember hearing this poem for the first time nearly six years ago.  It made me feel proud to be a teacher and affirmed the life-changing nature of our profession.

October 6, 2013 Drew Dudley: Everyday Leadership


  • Lollipop moments are why I got into teaching.  How about you?

Other Great Ted Talks – Honorable Mentions

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: