14 Inspirational Teaching TED Talk Videos

TED talks have become something of a phenomena over recent years, bringing together interesting speakers to talk on a wide variety of interesting and thought provoking topics.

We’ve put together 14 inspirational teaching TED talk videos, from some wonderful teachers around the World.

I’m sure you’ll find them energizing and full of ideas for teaching techniques that you can bring into your classroom, to help capture your students attention and enthusiasm! Let’s take a look…

1. Teaching kids to love Science

Bringing into the classroom local and remote challenges for the World, such as plastic pollution that can be tackled with innovative thinking and science is what Cesar Harada is all about. In this talk he describes how he makes these issues real for students in his classroom, and how he encourages imaginative thinking and problem solving ability to thrive – something which is so needed in today’s modern schools. Cesar comes across as a wonderful passionate teacher who I’m sure can teach us all a thing or two about how to engage even young students in science class.


2. Cultivating the curiosity of students

Ramsey Musallam teaches chemistry, but he attributes a life threatening health condition snapping him out of 10 years of teaching on auto-pilot, and giving him focus and new-found clarity on what is most important in teaching children. It is the students questions, and curiosity, which are most crucial in fostering learning in the classroom and beyond in the wider world.


3. Teaching the skill of formulating Math problems (not just solving them)

Dan Meyer insists that math class needs to be redesigned to put much greater emphasis on requiring students to formulate math problems, not purely solve calculations using a formula – something Einstein was very much a supporter of. He gives several actionable examples of these effective teaching methods from his high school math class.

4. Fixing a school crippled by poverty

This is a tremendously powerful talk from Principal Linda Cliatt-Wayman about how leaders MUST lead in a school set in an environment of poverty. Setting clear positive expectations of every student and teacher to lift the atmosphere from one of danger and fear and hopelessness, to one of hope, positivity, and possibility. The results are clear for the students, teachers, and society as a whole.

5. Teaching and learning should bring Joy

Rita Pierson gives a funny and inspiring talk about the power of human connection with students, to bring about change and enabling potential. Teaching can be so hard, but can lift up children to leave a lasting legacy beyond measure. This is the power of a teacher connecting to their class.

6. The secret magic to enthrall and teach

Christopher Emdin makes the case that it is the magic ability to capture attention of the students in an engaging way that is missing from many urban schools. Learning the little techniques to become an inspiring teacher through modelling effective communicators in diverse areas of society.

7. An appropriate response to “Those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach”

Taylor Mali with an powerful poetic response to that most cringeworthy saying uttered by only those who don’t comprehend the difference teachers make to the lives of children, parents, and society as a whole.

8. The multiple types of intelligence

Sir Ken Robinson, ex University Professor, gives a funny and stirring talk about how the school system is currently training creativity out of students, as it was largely designed during the industrial revolution. He eloquently describes how this is ill-advised given current evolution of human society, and the wide spectrum of human intelligence. A wonderful look at how teaching can be rethought to better enable students to engage with their own potential.

9. Human life is inherently creative, and so too are teachers

Another brilliantly thoughtful and funny talk from Sir Ken Robinson on how the education system needs to be redesigned for the benefit of teachers, students and society. Removing the discretion from teachers and putting control solely in the hands of policy makers doesn’t work.

10. Learn another Language

An interesting talk from linguist John McWhorter on the benefits of learning a new language, especially as English continues to grow year on year, becoming the world’s universal language. What is the point in learning a foreign language in a world where everyone carries an automatic translation device in their pocket? There are several benefits as you’ll hear.

11. IQ is not the only thing determining the success of students

Angela Lee Duckworth gives a concise talk on the importance of the difficult to quantify Grit, in determining the success or failure of our students – and beyond in wider life. Things such as growth mindset give us some degree of insight, but what other things can do done to encourage grit to children to allow greater success?

12. People with a passion for pursuing many different interests

Does everyone need to choose a single career path, or specialized field? Or should those who hunger to learn a new thing over and over be encouraged to embrace this tendency and gain new superpowers from it? Emilie Wapnick gives a fascinating talk into the life of the “multipotentialite”. In the 21st century it could be said that it can actually be an advantage to allow your learning interests in multiple areas to intersect and provide unique innovation.

13. Teach kids to code

Mitch Resnick of MIT Media Lab shares why teaching kids to code is an effective method to show them that they can be complex problem solvers and makers rather than simply consumers – beyond any ongoing coding skills or career. “Scratch” is an easy visual coding tool aimed at kids, or anyone not familiar with writing code. It allows students to build a program such as an animation, game or interactive presentation, and teaches them how coding is structured in a fun way.

14. The virtual science lab which will enable young scientists around the world

Michael Bodekaer describes how new technology including virtual reality can help teachers engage their science class students, and give them all access to world class scientific equipment, to help inspire and enable them to perform experiments they would never otherwise be able to do.