Teaching a Lesson That Captures Kids' Attention...3 Key Things You Need

The TED talks are about Technology, Entertainment, and Design.  Only the most engaging, thought provoking talks make it to the TED stage.

Carmine Gallo, author of Talk Like TED, has watched over 150 hours of TED talks.  He recently shared the top 3 things the most engaging presentations have in common.

The TED talk that has received the longest standing ovation was given by Bryan Stevenson.  He is a civil rights attorney that won the Supreme Court case Miller vs. Alabama.  He knows how to persuade people.

If you examine the talk you will find the following:
  • 10% was establishing credibility for the speaker
  • 25% was giving data and statistics
  • 65% was evoking emotion by telling stories
Most children's teachers tend to do the opposite.  65% of their lesson is giving data and statistics.

Bryan started off by telling a story about his grandmother.  When asked why, he said, "Because everyone has a grandmother."  It gave him an immediate connection to the audience.

If you want to capture kids' attention, then tell stories that kids can connect with and fill the story with emotion.

P.S. This sounds like how the greatest teacher of all times (Jesus) taught.

Another highly rated TED talk was given by Bill Gates.  In his talk about the impact of malaria, he shocked the audience by opening a jar of mosquitoes in the middle of his talk.  The novel illustration obviously grabbed the audience's attention.

Kid's brains are wired to look for something new and exciting.  When they hear it...their attention is immediately drawn in.

When you are preparing a lesson, look for ways you can make it novel, new, and exciting.

Several years ago, I did a talk about Daniel and the Lion's Den.  I decided to go outside the box.  When the kids came in the room, there was a cage that was covered by a tarp.  When we got to the part of the story where Daniel is thrown in the lion's den, we pulled the tarp off the cage.

Yep... you guessed it.  We had a full-grown, real lion in the cage.  We had hired a local zoo to bring him in.  He let out a roar and the kids were immediately engaged to say the least.  The kids will never forget that lesson.

Robert Ballard's 2008 TED talk about the discovery of the Titanic is another one of the top rated talks of all time.

What made it so engaging?  It contained 57 visual slides...and none of the slides had text in them.

When asked why he didn't use any text, he responded, "Because I'm storytelling; not lecturing."

Research overwhelmingly shows that kids (and adults) learn better when information is delivered using words and pictures.  When ideas are only presented verbally, they only remember about 10% of what they hear.  But add pictures to the talk and retention soars to 65%.

Add more pictures, animations, and images to your lesson and kids will remember it.