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Inspiration comes in many shapes and forms. Yet, regardless of the medium, it serves as food for the soul. As educators, it’s easy to get caught up in the weeds of day-to-day responsibilities. We forget to take moments to step back, re-evaluate, and allow ourselves to be reminded of why we do what we do. Here’s your chance to invest a few minutes in yourself and be inspired by these powerful educational talks from TED, a non-profit organization committed to celebrating and spreading new ideas.


The beauty of TED talks is they’re like a blueberry – bite-sized, yet packed with good stuff. Be sure to bookmark this list and let it be that place you escape to when an encouraging word, inspiring story, or just a break from the daily grind is what you need. Get ready. Set. Be inspired!


The following TED talks showcase what can happen when the pursuit of something greater than a test score becomes the driving factor in our quest for helping students discover their potential.


1. “Every Kid Needs a Champion” by Rita Pierson


This is one of my all-time favorite TED talks. Rita Pierson, a 40-year veteran educator, shares her experience in the power of connecting with students and developing deep and meaningful relationships. Discover how a focus on positivity and optimism in the face of adversity can have a revolutionary effect on helping your students evolve into their best self.


2. “How to Learn? From Mistakes” by Diana Laufenberg


Diana Laufenberg, a social studies teacher of over 20 years, shares three intriguing things she has learned about teaching, including a key insight about how school should be a place for discovery. We serve our students best when we provide a safe harbour for them to learn from their mistakes. Explore how experiential learning can open doors for deeper understanding and empower student voice. “The things that kids will say when you ask them and take the time to listen is extraordinary,” says Laufenberg.


3. “How to Escape Education’s Death Valley” by Ken Robinson


I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Sir Ken Robinson speak in person, and his prolific talks are some of the most celebrated in the academic ecosystem for good reason. In one of the most popular TED talks of all time, Sir Robinson reminds us to never underestimate the power of cultivating HOPE in our young people. He outlines three principles crucial for the human mind to flourish – and challenges us to consider the shortcomings of our education culture to support them.


4. “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Lee Duckworth


With a background in psychology, Angela Lee Duckworth dives into the reality that IQ isn’t the only differentiator between high and low performing students. She explores the power of determination and the role grit plays in an overall student’s success, recounting her experience in the classroom as a seventh grade public school math teacher. Be inspired by taking a closer look at how this character trait can have far-reaching effects for all of us, but especially for our young learners.


5. “How to Fix a Broken School? Lead Fearlessly, Love Hard” by Linda Cliatt-Wayman


This powerful TED talk by Linda Cliatt-Wayman is a real shot in the arm for educators, especially administrators. As a new principal at a failing North Philadelphia high school, Linda was acutely aware of the challenges before her. She shares three principles that helped her turn around three different schools that had been categorized as “low-performing and consistently dangerous.” Courage and the power of love can be revolutionary.

Have a favorite TED talk you’d like to share? Give us a shout @edvergent and #iTeachDigital!


About The Author

Tiffaney Lavoie currently serves as the Director of Instructional Media and Design at Edvergent Learning. An educator with a business background, she has served over 60 school districts in Kentucky as an instructional technology consultant where she developed and delivered professional learning opportunities and partnered with school and district technology rollouts. A former middle school teacher, Tiffaney has a passion for effective technology integration and recognizes the importance of accessible digital tools to support teaching and learning. She has presented on a state, regional, and national level, and values immersive digital learning environments that better equip students to compete in a global society.

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