TED Lessons




TED talks are an excellent resource for teachers and students and in this section of AstroEnglish.com I have added some of the lessons I have used in the past, mostly teaching higher level adult learners, and following a formula I have developed to get the most out of the content and language used in TED talks. The lessons include gap fill exercises, debates, discussion questions and useful new vocabulary.


 

Keith Chen – Language and savings behaviour 

This talk is about a fanciful theory a behavioral economist has about how the language we speak has an effect on our savings behavior. His intriguing new hypothesis claims that people who speak languages with no distinct future tense (like Chinese and German) are better at considering and saving for the future than those who speak languages with a changeable future tense (like English).
Language and savings behaviour
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Jason Fried – Distractions in the workplace

This talk is about how companies and organizations waste too much time and productivity by having unnecessary distractions such as meetings and managers. Jason Fried offers some provocative suggestions to help remedy the situation such as cancelling meetings and using social media to communicate with colleagues in the office. This talk offers a glimpse into the ever-changing nature of office culture in an increasingly globalized world.

Distractions in the workplace

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Michael Green – Social Progress Index

This talk presents the idea that a country’s success should not be judged by GDP figures, but instead, by the Social Progress Index (SPI), which measures other factors in a society, such as, equality, health, justice and the environment. Michael Green introduces the concept of SPI by showing how the over reliance on GDP has led to an ever widening wealth gap and has put the earth on the brink of environmental disaster. He uses a regression analysis to show that countries with larger GDPs are not necessarily better off socially and vice versa.

Social Progress Index

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Navi Radjou – Frugal Innovation

This talk presents the idea of frugal innovation which Radjou suggests will become more necessary as time goes by and the earth’s natural resources become more scares. Frugal innovation, Radjou explains, is “the ability to create more economic and social value using fewer resources. Frugal innovation is not about making do; it’s about making things better.” He gives several examples of innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world who have created products and come up with solutions to problems by using “human ingenuity” instead of resorting to the western model of “more for more”.

Frugal Innovation

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Rainer Strak – Workforce Crisis 2030

In this talk Rainer Strack discusses how the working age population will severely decline by 2030 as the baby boomers retire and birth rates continue to decline. He suggests that many the world’s largest economies will need to increase their retirement age and take measures to attract high-skilled migrants to maintain their current levels of growth. He also points out that low-skilled workers will be less in demand and that some major upskilling will need to be planned by countries. Strack posits that to attract these high-skilled migrants they will have to be treated as valuable resources and be appreciated for their work.

Workforce Crisis 2030

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Great Leaders

 

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