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TED Talks are a fantastic free resource. They can teach you about a variety of topics and help you improve your skills in areas like critical thinking and leadership, which could be very useful for your degree! Read on for our list of the top 5 TED Talks that every student should watch.
The best TED Talks for students
The very first TED Talks happened way back in 1984 when the non-profit company TED held a conference featuring presentations on Technology (T), Entertainment (E) and Design (D). Now these inspirational, informative and entertaining talks focus on a range of topics, and at 18 minutes or less, they're ideal for busy students!
1. The surprising habits of original thinkers
Education is now one of the most popular topics at TED Talks — in fact, TED has now launched TED-Ed, a platform where you can find 1000s of educational TED talks for students and teachers.
One of the top TED talks recommended for students is this one by Adam Grant, an author and professor of Organisational Psychology.
Here, Professor Grant talks about how to come up with great ideas, how to plan projects, and how to see them through to success — all great skills for students! In case you're not already intrigued, he even explains why a little procrastination is a good thing...
2. Five tips to improve your critical thinking
Critical thinking is an important part of studying a degree. As a student, you need to be able to analyse information in an impartial way and draw your own conclusions. It’s a skill that you can take into the rest of your life, too.
This is why critical thinking is often called a "transferable" or "employability skill" — because it's an important skill for both your degree and your career.
This short animated video, also featured on TED-Ed, has some great, easy-to-follow tips on how to boost your critical thinking skills.
3. The power of believing you can improve
While critical thinking is an important skill, it's also important not to be too critical about yourself! However, this can be hard if you're struggling to understand something, or didn't do well in a test.
This talk by researcher and motivational speaker Carol Dweck explains why failing once doesn't mean you'll always fail, and how you can grow more confident in your abilities.
4. How to make stress your friend
Everybody gets a little bit stressed sometimes. Being far from your family, giving a presentation in front of your class or taking an exam are all normal things to be a little bit anxious about.
The speech below, by Psychologist Kelly McGonigal, is a great TED Talk for students because it will help you to understand what causes stress, and how you can overcome it.
5. How great leaders inspire action
Leadership is a great skill for students to learn. It can help you feel more confident about giving presentations, working in a group and participating in class debates. It's also another sought-after employability skill, especially if you're interested in a career in business and management.
In his TED Talk, author and City, University of London graduate Simon Sinek explains how good leadership is simply a matter of standing up for what you believe in — meaning it's something anyone can achieve.
We hope you find these TED Talks helpful! We have lots of other tips and advice for international students on our website too — you can find some examples below.