5 of the Best TED Talks For Teachers

ted talks for teachers

Teachers are in a unique position. They have the ability to impact the lives of hundreds of kids and young adults that come through their classroom. This can be even more profound when some students come from less than ideal family situations. Some days for teachers are rewarding. Some days might make you wanna cry.

Most teachers you talk to absolutely love their job, in spite of the challenges and pressures that come along with the work. When we love doing something, we want to improve and be our best. There are some great online resources for teachers, and TED Talks are no exception.

We’ve gathered a few of our favorite TED and TEDx talks for teachers, that we really think you’ll enjoy. So here are 5 of the best TED talks for teachers.

The One Thing All Great Teachers Do | Nick Fuhrman

Dr. Nick Fuhrman, also known as “Ranger Nick” is an associate professor of environmental education in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication. He’s received degrees from Virginia Tech and the University of Florida, and continues to educate many about ecology and the nature around us by teaching others using

He’s been Ranger Nick since the ripe age of 16, when he became the youngest member of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. But his aspirations began way before that, at the age of 7, when Ranger Bill visited his school. Nick explains that in just 45 minutes learning from Ranger Bill and his animals, his lifelong goals were set in motion.

What is it that Bill did to have such a profound impact on him?

“Ranger Bill wasn’t just presenting information – he was teaching it.”

Nick, along with the help of a few surprise guests, presents not one thing but 4 things that all great teachers do.

Grit: the power of passion and perseverance | Angela Lee Duckworth

IQ and test scores are important. These are good ways to gauge a student’s level of knowledge. They are often used as the main indicator of a student’s

“But what if doing better in school and in life, depends on much more than your ability to learn quickly and easily?”

After leaving a high-profile consulting job and taking up teaching math in New York, Angela Lee Duckworth set out to answer this very question. She and her team researched a large number of students in a variety of schools and settings, from military academies to national spelling bees. They also studied teachers from a number of schools in different cities and socioeconomic backgrounds.

What was the deciding factor on whether a person would succeed? It wasn’t IQ. It wasn’t good looks or physical health. It wasn’t social intelligence.

It was grit.

In this TED talk, Angela discusses the powerful effect grittiness can have, both on teachers and students alike. And thus, the strong need to instill it as best we can in our students.

Every kid needs a champion | Rita Pierson

Rita Pierson has been teaching students of all ages for over 40 years. She comes from an education background, with both her mother and father – and her maternal grandparents – serving in the education system for most of their careers.

In her talk, she discusses the importance of not just trying to force your students to “learn lessons”, but to build connections with them. One fellow teacher told her, “I’m not paid to be liked. I teach, they learn, case closed.” Rita responded, “You know, kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.”

She also highlights the need to motivate your class and to build their self-esteem, and how you can do so. When one student missed 18 questions on a 20 question quiz, instead of writing -18 on the students paper, she wrote a +2 and a big smiley face. The student asked her, “Is this an F?” She responded yes. The student asked again, “Then why did you put a +2? Rita encouraged the student to focus on the positive, and challenged them to improve their results the next time.

As she puts it: “-18 sucks the life out of you. +2 says ‘I ain’t all bad.'”

Rita’s love for teaching and her passion for talking about it might make anyone consider becoming an educator themselves.

What makes a good teacher great? | Azul Terronez

Azul Terronez is an international leader, author, and educator. He teaches others how to lead in projects and schools as well.

During his his 24 years as a teacher, Azul asked the above question everywhere he went. “What makes a good teacher great?” He collected 26,000 responses from 8 different schools, and began to notice some patterns and connections.

For example, Azul states: “Often times I heard ‘A great teacher loves to teach.’ 70% of the time, the quote or answer that follows was, ‘A great teacher loves to learn’… What if they did?… What if they saw their teacher struggle through something they didn’t actually know, and then eventually discover the answer?”

Students want to see that learning is important to their teachers. They want people they can communicate with, someone who will not just talk, but listen.

This TED talk is a valuable insight into the minds of students of all grade levels. Perhaps you will learn something new, and be inspired by the feedback presented in this video.

Teachers need real feedback | Bill Gates

If you haven’t heard of Bill Gates, may I be the first to welcome you to planet Earth. Do try the coffee, it’s wonderful.

Students are constantly receiving feedback. Teachers give them commendation, and also help them to see where they can improve. Unfortunately, teachers themselves are rarely the beneficiaries of feedback.

This is a problem, since teachers need it just as much. They need to know if their methods are effective. Are they reaching their students? Are they effective? If not, how would they know whether they need to make any positive changes?

“The system we have today isn’t fair to them, it’s not fair to students, and it’s putting America’s global leadership at risk.”

The best academic performer in the world is the province of Shanghai. Young teachers there are able to shadow more experienced teachers as they educate students. They have a weekly study group where teachers bounce ideas off each other on how to improve. They even require teachers to observe and give feedback to their colleagues.

What would a similar system look like in America? And how could it be implemented?

Continue learning so you can continue teaching

Educational resources like these are an excellent way to improve our teaching, and motivate our students to grow as well. BeSafe Technologies is proud to offer our own educational resources like this article and many more, free of charge.

There is plenty of room to continue refining our educational system, and the facilities in which our students learn together. With advancements in teaching methods, there are also many advancements in school safety and security technology.

To learn more about how we can make schools safer for students, teachers, and faculty, visit our rich resource library.

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