Teaching With TED Talks

I love using TED Talks as springboards into discussions or projects with my adult English language learners.  Some of my personal favorites are ones that have visuals, art, or music.  Besides being intrinsically engaging, they make differentiating easier due to the universality of the topics. 

This Ted Talks, Stories Cut from Paper by Betrice Coron, could be fun to use in class.  Watch it, read suggestions for using it, and explore some related Ted Talks links.

TED Talks lend themselves to dogme language teaching opportunities and authentic uses of language.  Another way I might use this in an adult ESOL classroom would go something like this:
  1. Watch the video together with subtitles on.  (Possibly have a list of vocabulary pre-selected that teacher pronounces before watching and class discusses what they already know about the words.)
  2. Divide the class into small groups or partners and have them separately interpret an assigned section of the video.  There could be some guidelines outlined in a checklist such as: teach us new vocabulary from your section or related to your section, interpret the art in your section, relate the art to something else you have seen, read, or experienced, etc.
  3. Small groups present, teach their sections, and facilitate discussion.  Discussion could be extended in writing on a class blog.
  4. Watch the complete talk together again as a class.
  5. Extended learning with an activity that promotes students telling their own stories in creative ways. (See Rives Tells a Story of Emoticons.) Again, I would use guidelines in a rubric or checklist and have this part of a project.  It could be possible to incorporate all modes of language—reading, writing, listening, and speaking in the process.
Below are some of my other favorite TED Talks on the arts (often integrated with science) that lend themselves to dogme language teaching or projects that allow students to bring in their voice, experiences, and make connections.   Many of them are challenging for intermediate to advanced ELLs, but in my experience if scaffolded, some interesting sometimes unexpected conversation arises.  Others lend themselves perfectly to discussion based upon the visuals or music alone.
Don't miss Huff Post the Best of TED 2011 countdown.  Feel free to explore my past posts on TED TalksWhat are some of your favorite TED Talks for classroom use?  What are some ways you use them in the class?

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