Have you been to TED.com lately? What’s your favorite talk? Is it the one by Sir Ken Robinson on “Do Schools Kill Creativity? Is it Susan Cain on “The Power of Introverts”?
Ted Talks carry strong messages and innovative ideas. They’re up-to-date, appealing and powerful. But how can we use these for teaching English? After all, they talk really fast.
Well there are 3 ways, each with three different qualities.
Many teachers like us have contributed ESL lesson plans. They may be on topics associated with TED talks or even some are just original ideas. The lessons are comprised of a video, followed by questions to make students think. Then there are further references which may be useful for students to read or for you to prepare for your lesson.
2. TED.com with interactive transcript
Going back to the regular TED.com site, there are often articles associated with the talks themselves, which make useful reading comprehension exercises and they can also be useful for determining what vocabulary to pre-teach. You can also use this as an exercise to practice pronunciation and look at language. This can really promote autonomy and engagement. Motivated students can watch part of the talk, then read and then listen again to compare their pronunciation to that of the TED speaker.
3. TED NPR Radio Hour
The third way of using TED is very useful for adults and also a treat for us teachers: if you go to Googleplay and download the Podcasts app on your Android phone or, for you iPhone or iPad users, if you look for the Podcasts app, you can use any kind of smartphone to subscribe to the TED Radio Hour prepared by NPR, National Public Radio. Every week parts of TED talks are gathered around 1 topic and then there are interviews with the speakers. In the end, those great ideas are presented in a more accessible way.
So, these are the 3 ways that you can use TED to bring great language (and ideas!) to your learners.