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Top 7 TED Talks every teacher should see

TED Talks are awesome. Maybe it’s the variety of topics they cover, the perfectly timed length, or the simple setting. The TED Talks given by educators strike a chord with anyone with a passion for education. The speakers are either teachers themselves or are experts in their fields, highly relevant to education today.

So here are, in no particular order, seven TED Talks that every teacher should see:

  1. Every kid needs a champion

    Rita Pierson breathes teaching through every pore. In this passionate and engaging talk, she calls for teachers to connect with students. She advocates for every teacher to be a champion for their students: “Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they can become the best that they can possibly be.”

  2. Science is for everyone, kids included

    This heartwarming talk tells the story of the youngest scientists ever published. Beau Lotto, founder of an art studio and science lab, draws attention to the fact that the work of scientists is a lot like children’s play. Science is a way of being, just like play is, and by adding rules, you create a game. Being a scientist shouldn’t be limited to an age group, as science is indeed for everyone.

  3. How to learn? From mistakes

    Diana Laufenberg witnessed firsthand all the changes that the advent of the Internet produced in the educational system, and how challenging it’s adapt to everything. Now, as she points out, “if we continue to look at education as if it's about coming to school to get the information and not about experiential learning, empowering student voice and embracing failure, we're missing the mark.”

  4. How to raise successful kids — without overparenting

    Well, this is aimed more at parents, but maybe teachers could share it with parents. Julie Lythcott-Haims talks about how being overprotective and setting too high expectations — that are actually rather narrow — of children can actually be counterintuitive in the process of raising them. After all, success comes in all shapes and sizes, and every child should be able to find their own.

  5. Let’s teach for mastery — not test scores

    Khan Academy founder, Sal Khan, talks about the absurdity of the educational system and calls for a different approach to teaching and assessing: mastery-based learning. Such a system wouldn’t allow for any achievement gap to develop. If the focus of education can move from test scores to achievement of mastery, outcomes will be amazing.

  6. Teachers need real feedback

    Aside from the big name, Bill Gates brings big words on the TED stage. Teachers need real feedback. We expect so much of our teachers every day — to prepare our kids for successful lives in the future — yet we give them so little support in their professional development. One step towards achieving a system for improving the work of teachers is to identify where they need help.

  7. Do schools kill creativity?

    The last recommendation is probably the most famous TED Talk, based on the number of views — over 62 million, and it comes from Sir Ken Robinson. Every teacher out there should know what Sir Ken Robinson has to say about the education system and how it actually punishes students for trying to be creative, instead of nurturing the best environment for them to develop their innate creativity.

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