TED Talk Listening and Discussion

Download the Syllabus

Image of TED talks logo.Instructor: Mr. Shawn Roe
Email: english {at] sroeco {dot} com
Office: International Building, 4th Floor, Teachers Room
Dates: Mon/ Wed 6:00 – 7:30 pm (7 weeks)
Materials: Notebook, pen or pencil, optional dictionary


This course seeks to develop the listening and speaking skills of upper-intermediate-level students through watching TED talk videos and listening to TED radio hour shows. The students will participate in daily discussions on the topics presented in the materials. Students will practice their listening skills and sharpen their critical thinking and higher-level English vocabulary while improving their understanding of a variety of topics and issues.


Students will be expected to attend class regularly and participate in class discussions. Students who actively participate will gain the most from the class. There are no books, no tests, and no grades.


Week Topic Videos
1 What’s the secret of happiness? 1. Shawn Achor – The happy secret to better work.

2. David Steindl-Rast – Want to be happy? Be grateful.

3a. Dan Gilbert – The surprising science of happiness

3b. Dan Gilbert – Point of Happiness (audio)

3c. Dan Gilbert – Choose a Little Happiness Daily (audio)

2 What are the keys to success? 4a. Grit & Failure Powerpoint (PowerPoint)

4b. Angela Lee Duckworth – The key to success? Grit

5a. Derek Sivers – Failure is Good

5b. Derek Sivers – Growth Mindset

6. Ron Gutman – The hidden power of smiling

3 Are we all liars and cheaters? 7. Dan Ariely – Our buggy moral code

8. Pamela Meyer – How to spot a liar

4 Aliens and Asteroids 9. Jill Tarter – Join the SETI search

10. Phil Plait – How to defend Earth from asteroids

5 Does money make us happy or mean? 11. Michael Norton – How to buy happiness

12. Paul Piff – Does money make you mean?

6 What motivates you? 13. Dan Pink – Motivation

Motivation – Dan Pink.ppt

14. Tony Robbins – Why we do what we do

7 How can we improve education? 15. Sugata Mitra – Child driven education

16. Rita Pierson – Every kid needs a champion


Discussion Questions

  1. Shawn Achor Happiness Discussion Questions
  2. Grit Scale.pdf
  3. Lying and Cheating Discussion Questions
  4. SETI Discussion Questions
  5. Can Money Buy Happiness Discussion Questions
  6. Motivation and Learning Discussion Questions