Monday, November 16, 2015

TED Talks by Ann Yehle

I lead an online section of EDS 203: School & Society.  This course examines the historical and philosophical foundations of the teaching profession as well as contemporary issues in our schools.  It aims to provide teacher candidates (TCs) with a nuanced perspective of how schools and societies interact as well as foundational understandings and dispositions of the teaching profession. Many of our teacher candidates find topics explored in this course (e.g., school to prison pipeline, unequal funding formulas in today's schools, merit pay for teachers, tracking of students based on ability) to generate heightened levels of cognitive dissonance.  They often desire to know what is the 'right' way to address these topics.

To help my students tackle these heightened levels of cognitive dissonance and seek a deeper understanding, I incorporate Ted Talks into lessons to help build background knowledge before completing course assignments and to provide students the opportunity to hear multiple perspectives on particular topics within a short period of time.  TED, started in 1984, is an acronym for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. TED speeches are usually presented by experts in their field and push students to listen and comprehend topics that can represent the minute details of very complex subjects. The talks are engaging and presented in such a way as to not tell the students what to think but to help them understand the nuances of these issues and how they are grounded in historical, political, and contextual variables. 

My students have taken an interest in the TED Talks beyond the classroom. Many have expressed interest in utilizing this medium in professional development opportunities when they are teachers. As Miranda P., a MC-EA major shared, "I love TED Talks and hope to use them in my lessons in the future as a learning tool to support critical thinking among students. Possibly to have my students create their own TED Talks."

For more about TED talks, go to

Presented by Dr. Ann Yehle, Department of Educational Studies, School of Education