The Chalk Blog

TED Talks for Teachers

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Topics: Video, educator wellness, Digital Resources


Oh, TED Talks - how I love thee.  

Where else can you hear an engaging speaker sharing their passions with the world? 

There are a plethora of TED Talks that are helpful to teachers and students in different ways, but it takes time to search for just the right one. Below is just a sampling of the wide range of inspiration, focusing on some lesser known but powerful talks. 

So, choose one or all, and be prepared to be inspired and challenged by these fantastic speakers! 

How to Fix a Broken School? Lead Fearlessly, Love Hard: Linda Cliatt Wayman 

When newly minted principal Linda Cliatt Wayman arrived at her first principalship in North Philadelphia, she began to understand the realities of life at the school for both students and teachers. Steadily, she worked with staff and students to mend the brokenness and revive the school to a healthy and welcoming place, with an abundance of love. 

How to Recognize Your White Privilege, and Use It to Fight Inequality: Peggy McIntosh 

While the video quality isn’t top notch, the content is fantastic. The author of the groundbreaking essay, “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” breaks down the meaning of privilege, and how we can work towards equity and inclusivity. 

Why Students Should Have Mental Health Days: Hailey Hardcastle 

Hailey Hardcastle faced her own mental health issues, and then went on to serve others in lobbying successfully for a law to allow youth mental health days off from school.  Hailey offers encouragement for education, for mental health management, and how to react to a mental health crisis.  

What Adults Can Learn from Kids: Adora Svitak 

In an energizing speech, Adora Svitak makes the case that  adults should take our cues from kids, and experience the world in a truly limitless and imaginative way. She advocates for a system where adult and student learning is reciprocal. And… she’s right! 

How Can We Support the Emotional Well Being of Teachers: Sydney Jensen

Educator Sydney Jensen shares the reality of the secondary trauma teachers regularly experience as a result of their connections to students who have experienced trauma. Ms. Jensen advocates for the support of students and teachers, including access to resources available, to maintain healthy mental health. 

How to Teach Kids to Talk about Taboo Topics: Liz Kleinrock* 

While beginning her unit on race with her 4th graders, Liz Kleinrock realized that some students showed that they needed some extra guidance. Kids absorb all kinds of ideas from all kinds of sources.  Getting taboo topics up for discussion is less terrifying than misguided bias. 

How Teachers Can Help Kids Find Their Political Voices: Sydney Chaffee 

Education should be used as a tool for social justice by helping kids understand that history is not just in the past, but rather an ongoing event in which they are currently playing a part.  This talk also addresses teachers who empower students to find and use their voices instead of treating activism as rebellion. "Teaching will always be a political act," Chaffee says. "We can't be afraid of our students' power. Their power will help them make tomorrow better." 

(*Learners Edge has a course for that! Check out Course 5107: Empathy and Social Comprehension for a Compassionate Classroom)

Download this extended list to see even more of what TED has to offer.

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