A TED Way to Learn English

In May, National Geographic Learning gave me the opportunity to share via webinar my experience of learning English and becoming a TED speaker. It’s heart-warming to “see” hundreds of language educators joining from around the world, hungry to become better teachers, hungry to help their students learn English, the de facto global working language.

The main takeaway of my webinar is this: In a TED talk, what counts most is not its speaker’s presentation skills but the idea in the talk. Likewise, in communicating in English in a work setting, what counts most is not the correctness of your English, but the content of the communication. So don’t let the fear of making mistakes or having a thick accent stop you from talking to people to exchange ideas. People are most curious about what interesting things you have to say, not how you say them. Isn’t that your experience as well when listening to someone?

Curiosity is the most powerful drive for learning. It propels you to engage in more English communication. More communication and practice makes you better at English. Many English learners have curious minds and watch TED Talks to improve their English listening skills while learning something new.

During the webinar, many people were interested in knowing how to nominate a TED speaker and attend or even organize a local TEDx event. As promised, here is the link to the speaker nomination form and FAQ. To attend a local TEDx event, you can search which event is available near you here. Interested in organizing a TEDx event in your community? Start here to check out the guidelines and the application form to request a TEDx license.

National Geographic Learning partners with TED Talks to bring the world of ideas to life in the classroom. The Learn English with TED Talks App is a supplemental resource for students enrolled in English language learning programs. This video-based language learning app helps learners understand and discuss powerful ideas from TED Talks. With easy-to-use classroom resources, Learn English with TED Talks supports any English language curriculum and inspires learners to find their own voice in English.

Author: Lisa Bu

Born and raised in Hunan, China, Lisa Bu has been with TED since 2011 as its Content Distribution Manager. Before that, she spent seven years as a talk show producer and a digital media content director at Wisconsin Public Radio. She’s also a computer programmer, with a PhD in journalism and an MBA in information systems from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as a BA in Chinese from Nanjing University in China. An avid book reader and storyteller, she was invited to give a TED talk about the power of reading in 2013, and another talk about her experience as a first-time voter in 2012.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.