TED Talks

Learning English With One of the World’s Most Popular Platforms

Oeung Muyyu, ACE Teacher

Influential speakers, expert advice. Discover how one teacher uses TED Talks to boost her English.

I remember vividly when I started learning English that I found improving my listening and writing skills very challenging. One day, my teacher introduced TED Talks to the classroom and since then the benefits of using this highly entertaining resource for my language learning and teaching have become only too clear.


So, what are TED Talks? TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. TED Talks are influential and motivational videos revolving around personal experience and knowledge, shared by speakers who are experts in their field, whether it’s education, business, science, technology or almost anything else. There are currently thousands of TED Talks which anyone can access free of charge through the TED website, YouTube and other platforms. 

What are the benefits of TED Talks? 

After watching numerous TED Talks, I have noticed how I have developed both academically and professionally across a range of skills:

  1. Listening: Most speeches and presentations are in English, forcing me to reflect on pronunciation, intonation and the different accents that speakers from all around the world use. Don’t worry if you can’t understand every word as English subtitle can be generated for every video with YouTube’s ‘Closed Caption’ function.
  1. Writing: TED talkers often use formal, complex and more creative or idiomatic sentence structures, providing a wealth of new and varied language items to incorporate into my own language production. My range of vocabulary has expanded enormously and seeing words used in context helps me better understand their meaning.
  1. Giving Presentations: The speakers always appear very calm and confident, changing the speed and rhythm of their speech for dramatic effect, or using humour or telling a story to convey messages. Often, they use hand or facial gestures, body language and even props to keep their audience captivated.
  1. Critical Thinking: Viewers are exposed to an infinite variety of topics presented from many different and often challenging viewpoints and covering enough topics to suit every taste. My general knowledge, even on subjects I thought I knew a lot about, has improved significantly, while my critical and creative thinking capabilities have also been tested. Many of my existing beliefs have been challenged, encouraging me to be more questioning of things around me. 

So, if you want to give your English learning a boost and find out much more besides, why not give TED Talks a try? To access videos, visit the TED.com website or subscribe to the TED YouTube channel. Good luck and keep learning; and remember, it’s a journey not a race!

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