I'm a huge fan of documentaries (see the above "Document This" tab), but it's hard for me to commit to ninety or more minutes to watch one these days. TED Talks have been the answer, though, since most are between ten and twenty minutes. I watched many over the summer and am going to start trying to show one a week in my AP Language class to compliment whatever we're studying or just as a reason to practice their listening note-taking skills. I love that there's a talk for pretty much anything. The ones I feature today are about things that I'm passionate about or interested in: women's rights, equality, health, literature, and education. I'm going to periodically try to put some of the ones I've found particularly interesting up here to share the wealth. And yes, they're all women today, but I do watch ones by men as well.
Aspen Baker discusses the need for women who have had abortions, or any sort of difficult experience, to be listened to. She makes an excellent point about the divide between what is happening in politics, which many people get swept away in, and what happens in emotional real life. She created a foundation called Exhale to help provide women with support. Her message and advice at being a better listener was also insightful.
I showed this one to my sophomores last week and received a lot of positive feedback; they really appreciated the message on unintentional bias and seemed to take a lot of away from her talk. Abdel-Magied is an engineer in Australia but is also Muslim and wears a Hijab. She discusses how as a society we are so quick to judge others based on reasons we may not even be aware of. She is incredibly dynamic and powerful; she demands respect for others but does it a in such a way where you aren't feeling lectured. There are many activists that need to take note of her style.
I appreciated this talk because I too teach at a school that has seen major changes over the last six years in order to follow the Turn Around Model (her's is a similar system, I believe). Granted, her school needed a great deal of more help than ours, I still appreciated the sentiment of a leader that worked on developing sincere relationships with students and a positive working environment. In order to do this she managed the lunchroom herself and got to know the kids and held town halls meetings for input, just to mention a few of the strategies that I most appreciated. Her passion was palpable.
I'm a huge Allende fan (despite not reading near enough of her work!) and have been lucky enough to see her twice in person. This TED Talk doesn't disappoint; she talks about how our passions might change as we age but that we don't have to succumb to being elderly. The best part was when she talked about rolling Antonio Banderas up in a tortilla and eating him.
There are thirty-five million people globally with some form of dementia, so the chance of ending up with it to some degree are pretty high. Shaikh is confident that she will get it due to genetics- her father has it (there are some types of Alzheimer's, like early onset, that if you test positive for the gene you're pretty much guaranteed to get it). She's hoping for a cure by the time she's older to show symptoms, but in the meantime she talks about how to prepare. She's having as much fun as she can, she's improving her physical strength, and she's trying to be a better person. She says that is "the monster wants to get you, it's going to get you," but she's not going to go down without a fight.
All images are taken from ted.com.