Monthly Archives: November 2015

Tedtalks … ideas worth using in your classroom!

knowledgeMy year 11 VCE English class have been exploring the context of identity and belonging this year.

It frustrates me immensely that students expect every thing to be delivered to them in easy to digest chunks – they hate being asked to (and frequently complain they can’t) think for themselves. I have told them that I can’t follow them around for the rest of their lives doing their thinking for them … the law regards this as stalking!!!

So, my challenge has been how to develop thinking skills in a generation that don’t like to read anything longer than 140 characters or watch anything long enough to have ads in it.

Tedtalks have been my saviour. I like the wide variety of topics, the ease with which you can search for appropriate time length (I look for about 5 min) and that you can download so you do not have to rely on streaming in the classroom (we’ve all had those pesky buffering issues in the middle of what we thought was a well planned lesson).

Sometimes I just show one talk as a start or end of a lesson: at other times I build an entire lesson around a number of talks. I even had the students assess three talks using our rubric for oral presentations in the lead up to their own oral presentations (they were extremely hard markers!!). I don’t make the links for them. They assume I have selected the clip with a particular idea in mind (and, of course, I have) and I ask them to tell me how it relates to our context. If they can’t see how it relates I tell them, “we’ll come back to it” – sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t. I provided links on our class resource blog so they could watch them again at their leisure.

Short and sharp has worked! Over the last two weeks we have completed two essays for assessment and we are now in the throes of exam revision. I am pleasantly surprised at how many of the students have used Tedtalks as evidence in their essays. It has been interesting to be reminded of the clips we saw early in the year and listen to/read the ways the students mould them to fit the prompts in their essays.

If you are interested, here is a selection we have viewed this year:

Is there a real you?   /   Who am I?   /   How movies teach manhood

 Why thinking you’re ugly is bad for you

A broken body is not a broken person   /   Where is home?


What do you do to promote thinking in your classroom?