TED-talks for New Year holidays

TED-talks for New Year holidays

Holidays are coming! This is the time of Christmas Buzz. Everybody is decorating their houses with fairy lights, setting the Christmas tree, organizing home parties and buying gifts rushing around the malls or surfing online. Okay, and what can a teacher give to their students for New Year’s holiday? No homework, you say? Sounds like a good idea, but we have a better one for you. 

Give them a kind of homework that will be fun, motivating and extremely clear. The kind of knowledge that they might use not just next year but during their entire lives. 

These TED-talks will surely motivate your students and give them a handful of advice to follow. Better yet – don’t let them relax and lose their discipline completely, there are some creative tasks to do after each video. Have fun!

How to become a master of your time next year 

We all start New Year with some resolutions, but how soon do we actually break them? A month, three days or just a few hours will do.  A lot of people say this is because they don’t have enough time. Watch the next TED-talk to find out how to improve your time management. 

Description: Laura Vanderkam,  a writer, speaker and the author of the book “168  Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think” starts her talk by saying that she was once late to her speech on time management. Then and there it becomes clear Laura isn’t going to give you a special formula that will change your life forever. However, she will give you food for thought: what do we really mean when we say we have no time? Is it possible to shave bits of time off everyday activity? The listeners are encouraged to find answers to these and other questions. 

The quote: “We don’t build the lives we want by saving time. We build the life we want, and then time saves itself”. 

The task: Write your personal next year’s review (by answering these questions):

  1. What 3-5 things would make it a great year for you professionally?
  2. What 3-5 things would make it a great year for you personally?

How to finally stop procrastinating in 2020 

One of the many reasons why we break our NY resolutions is ….procrastinating, of course. Now listen to the procrastination master.  There is a chance he knows what to do to stop procrastinating. Or wait… Does he?

Description: “Procrastinating is something we are all doing. If you disagree with this point of view, watch this TED-talk. Tim Urban, one of the Internet’s most popular writers and illustrators, proves his idea right. He invites the audience to discover what is inside the mind of your usual procrastinator. Surprisingly, it turns out to be a fun and exciting journey. In the video we get introduced not only to the speaker but to some funny characters, one of them is called “instant gratification monkey”. Watch the TED-talk to find out more. 

The quote: “The frustration is not that they (people) couldn’t achieve their dreams; it’s that they weren’t even able to start chasing them.”

The task: Print out the life calendar. Think about what you are really procrastinating on. Fill in the box until it’s not too late. 

How to get back your lost motivation

Usually, there are more reasons for achieving or not achieving your goals. It would be too easy if it was all about procrastinating and time management, right? Next speaker invites us to look at this issue more deeply.  

Description: This is the case when the title doesn’t reflect the concept of the speech. Shonda Rhimes, an American television producer, television and film writer, and author, known as a producer of Grey’s Anatomy talks about how important it is to love your job, yet she goes beyond this simple idea revealing the notion of “the hum”, the magical calling that fires you up and keeps you going. 

The quote: “If the song of my heart refuses to play can I survive in the silence?” 

The task: What are some things you want to say “yes” to in 2020? It’s time to start doing this!

How to treat rejection wisely 

While Shonda Rhimes, talks about her experience saying “yes” to things, the next speaker has a completely opposite approach to transforming your life. See it with your own eyes.

Description:  Jia Jing, the owner of Rejection Therapy, a website that provides inspiration, knowledge and products for people to overcome their fear of rejection, talks about how he has become an entrepreneur but more importantly how he turned his rejections into his life gifts. His entire speech is full of humour, you can hear people laughing pretty much all of the time. Sometimes you even think that the speaker should have become a stand-up guy. The performance isn’t just fun, it’s also very life-transforming. It teaches you how to embrace your rejections and become a better version of yourself.

The Quote:“When you get rejected in life when you are facing the next obstacle or next failure, consider the possibilities. Don’t run. If you just embrace them, they might become your gifts.” 

The task: Go to https://www.rejectiontherapy.com/100-days-of-rejection-therapy. Join the 100 days of rejection challenge and do one thing from the list every day. You even may want to share your experience on social media.

How to start doing things that scare you 

We all want more life-hacks and tips on how to live our lives in a better way. What if I tell you one of these tips is “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable”, Sounds interesting? Then watch the next video and see what this is all about 

Description: “I am a professional trouble maker” Isn’t it the best way to start your public speech in front of thousands (if not millions) of people watching you? Luvvie Ajayi, the best-selling author of the book, “I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual” knows her ways. Her whole speech is full of humour, self-irony and ever-growing enthusiasm. By listening to this speech, you won’t only get colloquial expressions here and there, you will also be inspired and motivated to be comfortable with who you are. 

The quote: In a world that wants us to walk around as representatives of ourselves, being yourself can be a revolutionary act. And in the world that wants me to whisper, I choose to yell” 

The task: remember whenever you say something, there are three things to keep in mind: 

  1. Did you mean it? 
  2. Can you defend it?
  3. Did you say it with love?

How to change your mindset into a positive one 

Are there any other secrets to know to be a happy, motivated, driven person? But of course! You’ll hear it from the next speaker. Be ready to explore useful tips to trick your mind. 

Description: “This is probably the most extraordinary TED talk you’d see. Why did the researchers make random people sniff sweat pads of other people? Why did they analyze all of the TED talks counting hand gestures of the speakers? Why did Vanessa was standing at the street in Oregon looking at nothing? In this talk Vanessa, a behavioural investigator with Science of People and national best-selling author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People” answers these and a lot of other interesting questions. And the icing on the cake – this speech doesn’t end with “thank you” as the rest of them. 

The quote: “Anxiety and excitement are very similar emotions. The only difference is the mindset”. 

The task: Instead of

  • what do you do
  • where are you from
  • how are you

Ask: 

  • working on anything exciting these days?
  • have any vacations coming up?
  • anything good happened today? 

Then see how it will change your day, year and maybe even your whole life.

How to start moving forward 

Truth be told. All those secrets, life hacks and advice are helpful but sometimes there are problems you can’t solve that easily. Sometimes you are just stuck… If you know this feeling, watch another TED-talk. The performer claims she knows how to start moving forward at last. 

Description:  Dr. Lani Nelson Zlupko, a psychotherapist in Delaware raises one of the most important questions in her speech: how to move forward if you feel you are stuck .. forever. She says she has a tool to help you move on. First, don’t look at the world with “problem-focused lenses” Second, watch the video and get some more useful advice.

The Quote: “Don’t ever put power in other people’s hands about your life.”

The task: Think of a “bump” you’ve stumbled upon and need to overcome. How can you use the technique “turn – learn – move forward”?

How to open the doors to new opportunities in the upcoming year 

The next speaker says you just need to stop waiting, and then life will happen to you. He also has some incredible stories to tell and thoughts to share. 

Description: Peter Sage, an entrepreneur, philosopher, author and teacher, talks about how crucial it is to use the technology in the right way. He says it was designed to further the human potential and stresses out that communicating in person should be a lot more prioritized. In his speech Peter mentions some inspiring and insightful stories of people who have gone through hard times and saved the power to love and to share the love with others.

The quote: “The ultimate app that you can download from the app store these days is not Facebook, is not LinkedIn, is not a myriad of millions of different apps with billions of downloads. The ultimate app comes down to love.”

The task: Answer these three questions

1) How do you measure creativity?

2) How do you measure how much you care about somebody?

3) How do you measure love?

How to become a designer of your life 

Okay, so now you’ve decided to move forward letting life happen to you. What’s next? Probably, design your life? Just as they say “Every man is master of his fortune”. Bill Burner has some helpful ideas about how to design your life. 

Description: Bill Burner, the Executive Director of the Design Program at Stanford, challenges three dysfunctional beliefs (“You should know what your passion is”; “You should know where you are going to be”; “You should be the best version of yourself”;) and reframes them into notions that can help you find your way in life, but no more spoilers, watch the video and find out what these helpful notions are and how to implement them.

The task:  [time code 9:24- 13:00]

Come up with 3 five-year versions of yourself. Follow the speaker’s instructions. 

How to do things that seem impossible 

So, now you watched it all. And probably you just need one honest and rough life story. A kind of story that will make you realize that nothing is impossible. Here you go. 

Description: I bet you’ll be surprised by the next speaker. Curtis “Wall Street” Carroll, also known as the “Oracle of San Quentin”, will tell you the story of his life. He grew up in poverty with no chance to become “a decent man”, at the age of 17 he ended up in prison with a 54-to-life sentence. What could go right? Nothing, it seems. Yet Curtis has learned how to read and started studying stock market in prison. To follow the speaker through his transform life journey, watch the TED-talk

The quote: “This idea that only professionals can invest and manage money is absolutely ridiculous, and whoever told you that is lying.” 

The task: Let’s think –  what brought Curtis to where he is now. Books did. Reading books every day totally transformed his life. Try to read a book for 30 minutes a day. If it is hard to find the time, try to set at least 30 minutes every day before bed, for example. You’ll get used to reading daily and surely learn a lot of new things.

By the way, these TED-talks can be also done as a part of the lesson. Here you can find more about how to make video lessons. 

Whether you are watching these videos together with your students or assigning it to them as homework make them see how this task is useful not just for their English. It also teaches them useful life skills. 

Wish you to be productive next year!


Алена Кладьева

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