Why You Should Show These TED Talks for Back to School

classroom management, speaking, listening, classroom-culture


Oh, no! It’s back to school, and time for teachers to greet their new students, create routines, complete team builders, and make their classrooms welcoming. But with the pressure to cover extensive curriculum in a short amount of time, secondary teachers may feel tempted to skip the process of creating a positive classroom culture and delve straight into their content. It’s a mistake, however, to ignore the importance of building safe and inclusive classrooms which encourage students to participate actively in their learning.
 

beginning of the year, high school EnglishThat’s why you should show some of the TED Talks noted
below at the beginning of the school year. Even though you may not think you have the time, these TED Talks from diverse speakers are great filler activities for those days when a lesson finishes early or when you need an activity to get all of your classes on the same schedule. Best of all, they’re a meaningful way for students to practice their listening and speaking skills. Furthermore, they develop students multimedia literacy skills and they spark student interest.
These talks teach important lessons for the beginning of the school year, communicating life lessons such as overcoming obstacles, having gratitude, and being productive.

Megan Washington - Fear of Public Speaking (12:58)
Lots of people, including students in all of our classes, are afraid to speak in public – even if that’s just in the classroom. This talk by Australian singer Megan Washington may inspire more willingness in your students to speak up. In the talk, Washington shows how she converted her speech disability into her passion and success in life. Students will love hearing her sing, also!


Olivia Remes - How to Cope With Anxiety (15:15)

With student anxiety increasing at alarming rates, this recent TED talk will be helpful for many kids in your classrooms. Olivia Remes, from the University of Cambridge, explains the science behind anxiety and discusses the importance of gaining coping skills. She also describes several ways students can take charge of their anxiety.

Mac Burnett - Why a Good Book is a Secret Door (16:59)


Motivate your students to seek out “wonder” in the reading of books with this funny, entertaining talk by children’s author Mac Burnett. He reminds us that reading provides avenues for imagination, art, fiction, and reality. His talk is perfect for motivating students in English class right before they visit the school library for selecting novels during choice reading units.

Julian Treasure - 5 Ways to Listen Better (7:43)

How much of what you say do your students remember? In a world that often assaults our senses and distracts our attentions, Julian Treasure argues that we are losing our ability to listen to one another. In this talk, he offers strategies to improve our listening skills, and most importantly, the listening skills of our students.

Shonda Rhimes - My Year of Saying Yes to Everything (17:25)

Shonda Rhimes, producer of hit television shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, calls herself a “titan” and brags about her impressive success in this talk. She also shares how she confronted burn-out and learned a valuable lesson while saying “yes” to everything she was asked. Her daughters unwittingly taught her to seek out joy in life. This talk helps students keep perspective and is especially
beneficial for high achievers.

Jarrett Krosoczka - Why Lunch Ladies are Heroes (5:14)

This children’s author who wrote books about superhero lunch ladies tells his audience about the importance of validating everyone – even those who don’t usually get recognized. It would make an effective video at the beginning of a kindness activity, and students may want to thank a variety of school staff members – custodians, school nurses, library staff, etc.

Jia Jang - What I learned from 100 days of Rejection (15:31)

Using humor and personal anecdotes, Jang talks about how he remembered experiences from his youth and, thus, decided to take chances that led to 100 days of rejection. He learned to be a stronger, more courageous person in the process, and acquired valuable lessons such as turning a “no” into a “yes.” This talk will teach students the power of perseverance and to embrace rejection. 

Amy Cuddy - Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are (20:48)

Teach students to use “power poses” to build their confidence with this authentic talk from Amy Cuddy. In this talk, Cuddy, a social psychologist, uses scientific research to show that both humans and animals demonstrate power and dominance through their body language. She explains that physiology affects psychology, so she teaches people the importance of the mantra, “fake it till you make it.” She also supports her claim by sharing her personal experience of overcoming a brain injury after being in a horrible car accident. At the end of the talk, get your students to practice their poses!

Of course, it’s important to preview these talks to ensure that they will be appropriate for your students. Most should appeal to secondary students in any content area.

Now that I’ve shared some of my favorites, do you have TED talks or other videos that you recommend for BTS? Please share about them in the comments below.


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