TED Talks are informative, engaging, and often leave me thinking. Here are some of my favorite TED Talks for students in middle and high school.Disclaimer: I make a small commission from some of the links on this site. It allows me to keep the site up and the content free. You can read my full disclosure here.
Top Ten Ted Talks for Students
TED Talks are short (13-20 minute) inspirational videos from experts in the field. They’re inspiring, informative, and often leave the viewer thinking long after they’re done. Here are some of my favorite inspiring and engaging Ted Talks for students. Although most are appropriate for all ages, they’re best enjoyed for grades 6+.
1. Feats of Memory Anyone Can Do – Joshua Foer
Joshua explains the technique of the memory palace and the way that anyone can access it while also sharing his own personal story when it comes to memory. I loved Foer’s book Moonwalking with Einstein and used his tips to memorize the Periodic Table in a week. Every student should know about this memory technique.
2. The Danger of a Single Story – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a novelist, tells the story of finding her own voice and the danger in only having one perspective or a single understanding of something, especially when it comes to culture.
3. Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator – Tim Urban
Tim challenges students to think about what it is they are really procrastinating on and why by sharing his own personal struggle with procrastination and the many things that distract him. This talk is a lot of fun and en
4. Everyday Leadership – Drew Dudley
Leadership has taken on a new definition in today’s society and this isn’t what was meant to be. Drew Dudley explains why we must begin to think of a leader differently, especially when it comes to ourselves.
5. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance – Angela Lee Duckworth
As a seventh-grade math teacher and a former high-level consultant, Angela encourages students in explaining that success is something that can be achieved with grit and what grit even entails.
6. How to Speak So That People Want to Listen – Julian Treasure
Julian helps us understand the power of our own voices in sharing how to become a powerful speaker through helpful tips and personal examples.
7. Do Schools Kill Creativity? – Sir Ken Robinson
Sir Ken Robinson provides a thoughtful and compelling argument in regard to creating a system of educators that encourages creativity and nurtures it rather than dismissing it. This is one of my favorite TED Talks and is a must-watch for anyone who thinks “outside of the box.” (Don’t we all in a way?) There’s a reason this is the #1 most-watched TED Talk.
8. The Power of Introverts – Susan Cain
In today’s society, we tend to focus on those with natural social skills and outgoing personalities, but that doesn’t mean they have more power. Listen in as Susan explains the power of introverts and the reasons their talents and abilities should be just as welcomed and praised. I also enjoyed Cain’s book Quiet. It’s long and can be a bit repetitive at times, but it was intriguing and well-researched.
9. My Stroke of Insight – Jill Bolte Taylor
Jill Taylor tells her own powerful story that allowed her to have the chance of a lifetime. After suffering a stroke, Jill, a brain researcher herself, was able to watch as her brain functions began to shut down. Hear what she learned from the process and how she continues to inspire those within the field of brain research.
10. What Adults Can Learn from Kids – Adora Svitak
Adora explains the need for “childish” thinking throughout the world and the way that kids can and have inspired just as much as adults.
Strange Answers to the Psychopath Test – Jon Ronson
Jon Ronson, author of the Psychopath Test, explains the line between crazy and sane in a way that’s easily understood and offers a new perspective when it comes to mental health.
The Power of Vulnerability – Brené Brown
Brené Brown has studied empathy and human connection. In this talk, she challenges our ideas of vulnerability. This one is interesting for discussion afterward.