Derek Sivers: Weird or just different? (Teens)

“There’s a flip side to everything,” the saying goes, and in 2 minutes, Derek Sivers shows this is true in a few ways you might not expect.

Through his new project, MuckWork, Derek Sivers wants to lessen the burdens (and boredom) of creative people.

Level Goals Themes
Pre-intermediate (high) Modals of speculation Cultural difference
Intermediate Modals of deduction Innovation and inspiration
Teens Discussion Creativity

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Alisa Miller and Kirk Citron: Does the way we think about news and media need to change?

“My point is this: In the long run, some news stories are more important than others.” 

“The real question: is this distorted worldview what we want for Americans in our increasingly interconnected world? I know we can do better. And can we afford not to? Thank you.”

Level Goals Themes
 Intermediate News & Journalism vocabulary  News and media
 Upper-intermediate Idioms  Journalism
 Advanced Discussion & debate

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Peter Saul: Let’s talk about dying

This is a quote from Dame Cicely Saunders, whom I met when I was a medical student. She founded the hospice movement. And she said, “You matter because you are, and you matter to the last moment of your life.” And I firmly believe that that’s the message that we have to carry forward.

Level Goals Themes
 Intermediate  Present Perfect Revision  Death and dying
 Upper-intermediate  Contrasting Clauses  Euthanasia
 Advanced  Ethics

Andras Forgacs: Leather and meat without killing animals

“We can design new materials, new products, and new facilities. We need to move past just killing animals as a resource to something more civilized and evolved. Perhaps we are ready for something literally and figuratively more cultured.”

Level Goals Themes
Intermediate Could revision Vegetarianism
Upper-intermediate Vocab Food industry

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Margaret Gould Stewart: How YouTube thinks about copyright

“So, if you’re in the audience today, or maybe you’re watching this talk in some other time or place, you are a participant in the digital rights ecosystem. Whether you’re an artist, a technologist, a lawyer or a fan, the handling of copyright directly impacts your life.” 

Level Goals Themes
Intermediate Reading skills Copyright
Upper-intermediate Critical analysis Ethics
Persuasive language Online business

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Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions

“It seems to me patently obvious that we can no more respect and tolerate vast differences in notions of human well-being than we can respect or tolerate vast differences in the notions about how disease spreads, or in the safety standards of buildings and airplanes.”

Level Goals Themes
Advanced Mixed conditionals Morals and ethics
Proficiency Modal verbs of obligation Cultural difference
Fluent Academic debate Religion and philosophy

NB: Possibly controversial talk depending on the nature of your class.

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Sanjay Dastoor: A skateboard, with a boost (Teens)

“Next time you think about a vehicle, I hope, like us, you’re thinking about something new.” 

Level Goals Themes
Pre-intermediate Comparatives & Superlatives Technology
Vocab Skateboarding & Transport
Energy & Environment

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Rodrigo Canales: The Deadly Genius of Drug Cartels

“Whether we like it or not, the U.S. is the largest market for illegal substances in the world, accounting for more than half of global demand…”

“The question is whether we are willing to continue our support of a failed strategy based on our stubborn, blissful, voluntary ignorance at the cost of the deaths of thousands of our young.”

Level Goals Themes
Upper-Intermediate Present perfect revision Drug legalization
Advanced Vocab The role of organized crime

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Sophal Ear: Escaping the Khmer Rouge

“We live in the age of the refugee, the age of the exile.”

Level Goals Themes
Intermediate Discourse Markers Refugees and Illegal Immigration
Upper-Intermediate Past Perfect Revision War and Genocide
Advanced Vocab International Responsibility

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Taylor Wilson: Yup, I Built a Nuclear Fusion Reactor

“I started out with a dream to make a star in a jar, and I ended up … making things that I think can change the world.”

Level Goals Themes
Intermediate Basic future tenses Renewable energy
Upper-Intermediate Future perfect Nuclear power
Advanced Vocab (Science) Education

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