Make Me Laugh, Make Me Smile and Nod (Day 37)

(photo: It doesn’t really have to do with the post but it made me laugh AND it made me smile and nod.)

A couple of days ago, I was minding my own business when I heard somebody make a joke about nothing being as boring as a TED talk.

I couldn’t believe it. If I hadn’t heard it on the radio, I would’ve approached the speaker and demanded an explanation. Weirdly, I felt like I’d been punched in the gut, even though I have nothing to do with TED, except for the talk I’m going to give (for more on this, click here.)

Granted, I’ve only seen talks that have made it onto the TED website, meaning the hundreds of talks that were deemed the most captivating and worthy of putting on display.  Maybe there are some real duds out there and I’ve been lucky enough not to have seen them.

Clearly the radio show host who made the disparaging, offhand comment, a man whom I usually listen to with pleasure, has not been privy to the likes of Sir Ken Robinson, the man who turned this easily distracted woman into a TED true believer. I saw Robinson’s first TED talk a few years ago and was blown away. Since then, I’ve seen his other talks and have been equally engaged.

Because I was starting to question my judgment of the first talk I watched, I watched it again today. Even better the second time. (click here to watch Sir Ken Robinson’s “How Schools Kill Creativity.”)

The subject of the talk is what got me to watch it, but it was the way Robinson drew in the audience with stories and humor that hooked me.

Sir Ken Robinson argues, in his charming and self-deprecating way, that our schools educate students to become good workers not creative thinkers, and that because creativity is so important in our lives, it should be treated with the same status as literacy is in the school system.

One particularly interesting story he tells is about a child, several decades ago, whose teachers doubted her intelligence or ability to learn anything because she couldn’t sit still. In today’s world, the child probably would be diagnosed with ADHD, but back then, they didn’t have a label for this “condition.” What happens when this child is taken to a doctor by her concerned mother is both unbelievable and inspiring. And what happens with the rest of her life makes it easy to understand the value of what Robinson has to say.

As somebody who daydreamed her way through school, I can’t believe how natural it has been to pay close attention to all of the TED talks I’ve viewed. Part of it is because they are all shorter than 20 minutes. But, I know myself well enough to know that I would start drifting off after two minutes if the speaker did not know how to connect with the audience.

Even the TED talks on subjects I know nothing about are easy to follow. Every time I watch one, I feel as though I’m filling in a piece of my education that I missed while my head was in the clouds. Or I’m learning about something fascinating but too obscure for a secondary school curriculum. Or I’m building on knowledge I already have.

I started writing this post with the hope that I would write myself into a way to incorporate more TED talks into my life without feeling guilty about the time spent watching. This is what I’ve come up with. If I watch a few talks a week and once a week give you a brief story about what I liked, I can claim that watching TED talks is vital to the production of my blog.

Would this interest you? I promise I won’t be boring.


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6 thoughts on “Make Me Laugh, Make Me Smile and Nod (Day 37)

  1. Sara—I would actually love that. I like TED talks but don’t have a lot of time to listen to/watch them. I would love a brief rundown of what particular ones you liked each week! Then I’ll pick and choose!

  2. I’d be interested in seeing some stuff about TED talks. I’ve never watched any myself because I generally prefer to extract new knowledge from text, rather than video, but I’d be curious to see if I’ve been missing out on anything cool.

    1. What amazes me about the TED talks is that they are on a wide variety of subjects I probably would never delve into, but because they are so accessible and well-done, I get a taste. If I want to know more after that, I read.

  3. Here is one of my current favourite TED TALKS. Only 16:28.

    Hope that link shows. If not, you can google:
    The Great Porn Experiment by Gary Wilson.

    It’s good all by itself, but the reason I was fascinated was because I kept finding all these articles about why porn is derogatory to women and how men should “just say NO to porn” as a way of respecting women. Of course, easier said than done.

    This Ted Talk is all about SCIENCE. Imagine! Science meets Porn. A very unlikely and entertaining combination. Hope you watch it. Would love to hear your comments.

So what do you think?