Taking TEDTalks to the classroom

At first, I could not figure out how “The Puzzle of Motivation” TEDTalk it our class. I was entertained and interested, but my head was not forming any connections. As the speech continued, the pieces came together. If real-life adults in the workplace are not motivated by extrinsic awards, our students should do not need to be either.

I believe writing and reading are inherently intrinsically rewarding. While this may not seem appealing to teenagers, it is our job to guide them there. Reading can take you to places you didn’t know and experience a situation from a complete stranger’s point of view. When you write, you are letting the world know that, for at least a minute or so, you were here; you mattered. I don’t know what is more gratifying than making sure you are remembered.

While talking about big business tactics, Daniel Pink explained “FedEx Days”. In a nutshell, a team of workers has a whole 24 hours to them elves to use their work skills however they please. The title comes from the fact that they must deliver an idea overnight. I know this concept was created with engineers in mind, but I think I could transfer it into a classroom. After a long assignment or to get them back in the grove after a break, FedEx Days might not be a bad idea. Give the students a day to free write and/or read. After the next lesson, have them compose a piece based on what they did on the last FedEx Day. Ideas are everywhere if you look for them.


The most impressionable quote from “The Child-Driven Education” was: “children will learn to do what they want to do”. How simple is that? All we have to do is show our students why English is worth learning, why good books are worth reading and why writing is essential to thinking. I know, I know, this is way easier said than done, but once it is, we are there. We just have to show students how to want to read and write and then they will, all on their own.

From this video, I also learned I need to be better than a machine or I will become replaceable (in some people’s eyes). I agree a computer and some peers teach a student, but a screen does not have a heart for them to make their own space in.

Do we really want to rely on a monitor to educate our children? How will they learn simple phonics and number skills? A computer can teach information but it can’t show compassion or demonstrate a nurturing human relationship.

The speaker, Sugata Mitra, points out one of the young girls who taught herself to teach the other kids. The fact she taught herself to be a teacher proves one thing; there will still be a need for human guidance.


Photos courtesy of Creative Commons


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