TED Talks has opened me to ideas, insights, and emotions that I would not have had the opportunity to be exposed to without the internet. The power of TED (Technology, Entertainment, & Design) is not rooted in its ability to share a number of talks, inspirational or otherwise. Rather, it is in the opportunity to bring together people from all walks of life and allow them to talk on such a wide variety of topics to connect us and bring forth the idea that no matter where we are in the world, we all essentially want, believe, hope, and dream about the same things.
By watching numerous people share their wealth of stories, I have realized that, in the end, we are all ultimately connected not by the internet per se but by the very fiber of our being – our humanity.
1. What Adults Can Learn from Children by Adora Svitak
From the moment this child prodigy opens her mouth, I am captivated. It is as if she speaks to me as she talks about how being a child is actually something that can help change the world. Her arguments are on point as she talks about how their limits can be endless if we, adults, only allow them to do what they’re good at — dreaming and succeeding. As a teacher, I am personally invested in everything she says as I continually search for ways to inspire and effect change in my students.
Power Quote: “Kids grow up and become adults like you … No matter your position her place in life isn’t heritage to create opportunities for children so that we can grow up to blow you away. Adults in fellow TEDsters, you need to listen and learn from kids and trust us and expect more from us.”
2. Schools Kill Creativity by Ken Robinson
Sir Ken Robinson has the audacity to question the way schools are currently set up. Are we really helping kids succeed by setting limits to their means of expression and learning? His relaxed style and witty humor engage my timid mind in many ways. I love how he is able to go to the heart of the matter and talk about the real ideals of education — that of giving children an opportunity to feel appreciated for what they are good at. Why do we constantly feel the need to put children into a box? Are we not all wired a bit differently?
Power Quote: “If they don’t know they’ll have a go. If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything creative. We are educating people out of their creative tendencies.”
3. How Great Leaders Inspire by Simon Sinek
This is the talk that seems to be lost in the shuffle of my list. I had to stop myself from choosing the touching message of John Goodman and the wonderful insights of Pico Iyer for a chance to talk about what Simon Sinek claims to be true. Life is not about the whats. It’s about the whys. He may not have touched a chord in me in the same way the other 4 in this list have, but I love the way he speaks to my rational mind and how he explains that what I feel is actually also controlled by my brain. His practical approach to leadership and to engaging people to follow suit make sense and connect with me in many ways. I find true affinity with him as I realize that as a teacher, I need to explain more to my students the whys rather than the whats.
Power Quote: “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”
4. The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown
In a simple yet poignant talk, Brene talks about how opening ourselves up to the different possibilities of life empower us to experience life in its fullest. In such chaotic times, we often feel the need to have control over everything. Through extensive research and more, Brene realizes that this is not to be so. A life filled with vulnerability does not necessarily render us weak. Instead, it gives us the immense opportunity to fill our hearts and souls with love. It was after watching this very speech that I found the strength to open myself up to 3 kids who shared a little piece of themselves with me in a little corner on the lobby of MIT International School that fateful day in AP English Literature and Composition.
Power Quote: “They were willing to let go of the who they thought they should be in order to be who they were…” “We numb. We perfect. We pretend.”
5. Spoken Poetry by Sara Kay
This young woman is beauty personified. There are no ifs or buts about it. As I am currently fascinated by poetry, I was just fully engrossed by everything she said and did. Her poetry is so life affirming and the way she delivers them is equally powerful. Her zest for life and passion for her craft are real and palpable. I feel like I was there myself as she shatters every negativity left in me. How I wish all of us could embrace life in the same way she does. When I watch her, I believe. I believe that life is so much more than heartache and fear. She affirms my strong belief that literature and art can save lives by redirecting whatever loss people feel into positive energy and consequently breath life back into them.
Power Quote: “Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.”