Today, I want to share my 7 favourite TED talks which somehow changed my life. I´ve been wanting to do a post on TED talks for a really long time because they have so much to offer. And because watching them is a great way to improve your English!
See, I believe in learning through stories. Stories, including my own, are where I get most inspired to live my life the way I do, it´s where I learn to grow. So, I am a big fan of TED talks. In just under 20min you enter someone else´s mind so deeply it can take your breath away and make your head spin. I know mine did. With these seven for sure.
So, welcome to my TED world of inspiring people and their stories. Even if only one results in an aha moment for only one of you out there, this article was worth writing.
1. Brené Brown – The power of vulnerability
Brené is my new personal favourite storyteller. In a very entertaining way she presents her “academic” research on what makes people happy. She tells us about her personal journey as a psychoterapist/reseracher looking for the answer to the question: what makes people feel connected, thus happy. The best path to connect to another human being is, according to her, the willingness to show vulnerability. And I can really feel her there. The more vulnerable I am willing to be and invite others into my life, the more I connect. And the happier I am. I know, it sounds obvious, but do watch this talk. It´s very deep and very eye-opening. As one of my good friends says, she is a modern prophet.
2. Esther Perel – The secret to desire in a long-term relationship
The older I get the more I want to understand romantic relationships. I have had a few hiccups in those. But who hasn´t? So, when I accidently came across this talk, I was so mesmerized by what this Belgian psychotherapist had to say – in jaw-dropping English – that I immediately got her book (which has been translated into 24 languages, including Czech) and googled everything about her. I´m addicted to her now, I admit. It´s like she puts the pieces of the puzzle together, the puzzle we are all trying to solve in the best possible way. She looks at long-term relationships from an angle that feels so obvious. Yet, I bet you anything, you´ve never thought about them this way.
3. Jamie Oliver – Teach every child about food
Who doesn´t love Jamie Oliver, the top British chef famous for his fun, easy-going tv show where he teaches the world to cook fresh, simple and original meals? To many, including myself, he is a hero, especially for how he cares about health education. In this award-winning talk he shows us shocking facts about why the world is becoming more and more obese and sick. He takes us to an American school where the children don´t know the difference between tomatoes and potatoes and where they are served fast food for lunch every single day. Made me think twice about the way I and my family eat and support the local farmers.
4. Sugata Mitra – The child-driven education
About 10 minutes into this talk tears were running down my cheeks and I thought to myself – where have you been all my life? Sugata Mitra is a professor at Newcastle University and originally comes from India. In India, he set up an experiment in poor areas where no one wants to teach and children don´t have access to education. In the experiment, which he called “Hole in the wall”, he studied the way children learn, by themselves, without a teacher. His findings are fascinating and very comforting for any educator who is passionate about guiding students through the learning process rather than imposing it on them. This talk made me strengthen my unplugged approach to teaching, focusing even more on self-study strategies for my students. Another award-winning talk worth your time.
5. Sir Ken Robinson – Do schools kill creativity?
Every teacher and every learner who is doubting the educational system and the standardized approach to learning should watch this talk. It is the most watched TED talk of all times and rightly so. I know I can watch it any day of the year. Not only is it highly thought-provoking and inspirational, it is also incredibly entertaining and belongs to the best public talks I´ve ever seen. Sir Ken Robinson suggests that our schools kill creativity in us and indeed “makes profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.” (quote by Ted.com). He says that all kids have tremendous talents and that we are not doing them any good when educating them out of their creative capacities, in this outdated educational system. I just want to bow to this guy. Yes, Sir!!
6. Simon Sinek – How great leaders inspire action
I am convinced that you don´t have to own a business to gain something from this talk. We all need to be leaders in our lives, in our families, in our schools, in our work teams. “Leadership is not about being an authority, it´s about looking after the person on your left and looking after the person on your right,” says Simon Sinek, leadership expert who became world-famous because of this TED talk which was followed by a book called “Start With Why” (published in Czech “Začněte s proč”). Simon Sinek changed my life because I could feel that I´m doing it right. My behaviour in my working life doesn´t have to be different from my personal life. The keyword is CARE. As long as we know why we do what we do and show our care to those around us, we should be fine.
7. Gary Edwards – Humor in healthcare
There´s nothing like being there in the moment, in the audience, listening to a TED talk live. I´ve been to two TEDx events here in my hometown and it´s an experience like no other. This is from TEDx Brno 2014 and, without a doubt, the best talk of the day. You can´t see it in the recording but the moment Gary Edwards finished his talk we all gave him a standing ovation. And if this guy isn´t someone who will make you believe this world can be a better place, then I don´t know who will. In 2001 he started an organization called “Zdravotní klaun” which now employs 87 clowns in 75 hospitals and institutions in the Czech Republic. The clowns visit children´s and old people´s wards helping them focus on the bright side of life. And if this is possible, he gives me hope that healthcare is changing.
All the TED talks on this list are subtitled in Czech and English which means they are a brilliant resource for improving your English language skills. TED is even taking the initiative to help the world learn English by partnering up with National Geographic – more about that in the article “An inspiring way to learn English? By watching TED Talks”. And you can find some great ideas how to use TED talks as part of your self-study programme or, if you are a teacher, how to create lesson plans around a TED talk in 10 Ted Talks Every Student Should Watch.
And what are your favourite TED talks? Do they help you understand life or English or both better? If you are a teacher, do you use TED talks in class? I´d love to hear from you in the Comments!