Top TED Talks for Global Education

The coursework associated with my Teacher for Global Classrooms fellowship exposed me to a number of powerful TED Talks related to Global Education. I've collected some that resonated with me here (in no particular order.)

Taiye Selasi - Don't Ask Me Where I'm From, Ask Where I'm a Local (2014)

Taiye Selasi's work as an author and photographer explores relationships to multiple identities and other global themes. Drawing from her her own experiences learning and living throughout the world, Selasi speaks on behalf of "multi-local" people for whom home may more than just a singular place.

I was struck by Taiye Selasi's assertion that "all experience is local [and] all identity is experienced” in a very personal way: Selasi and I both spent the mid-to-late '90s living in Brookline, MA, and attending Milton Academy. Thus we are both locals of the same town and same high school, but we have very different identities because our experiences in these places have been wildly different. This idea that experience makes us who we are is an important concept that I think can be emphasized and leveraged in multiple ways in the classroom:

  • Teachers can challenge students to seek out experiences in areas in which they are interested. That is, encourage them to not just become knowledgeable about a particular interest, become to become a practitioner of it.

  • Teachers can internalize the idea and adjust their teaching methods, making things more hands-on and student centered. That is, if I want my students to identify as scientists, I need them to experience science rather than just read about it or listen to lecture. If I want my students to be inquisitive, curious, and independent learners, then I need to provide them with experiences to that end.

  • Teachers can directly discuss the idea anytime a student makes a generalization or broad assumption, turning the situation into a teachable moment.

  • When introducing a new topic, teachers could solicit students to share their experiences with the concept, rather than simply asking "what do you know about [concept]?”


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - The Danger of a Single Story (2009)

Novelist, nonfiction writer, and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Chimamanda Adichie shares her personal experiences to warn us of the danger of hearing a single story--that danger of developing significant cultural misunderstandings. This is the first of her two TED Talks, her other, We Should All Be Feminists, can be found here.


Hugh Evans - What Does it Mean to be a Citizen of the World? (2016)

Hugh Evans, co-founder of The Oaktree Foundation and the Global Poverty Project, argues that identifying oneself first and foremost as a member of the human race--rather than a member of a nation or culture--is key to taking action against climate change, poverty, inequality, and other problems facing the world.


Gordon Brown - Global Ethic vs. National Interest (2009)

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown discusses the interplay between global citizenship/ethics and patriotism/national identity in this Q&A with TED curator Chris Anderson.

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