TED Talk Teaching: Part III

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TED Talks are great teaching tools. Each is visual, engaging, focused, and contemporary. I think they make excellent supplements to the readings in Emerging, particularly because many of the text’s authors have been TED speakers. And the interactive transcript is a bonus feature, letting students work with the text of each talk.

In this series of posts I want to highlight some particularly useful TED Talks and suggest some of the ways to use them in the classroom.

The Talk: Kwame Anthony Appiah: Is Religion Good or Bad (This Is a Trick Question)


Why It’s Great: Kwame Anthony Appiah’s “Cosmopolitanism” and “The Primacy of Practice” are in some ways at the heart of Emerging because they encapsulate ideas that run throughout the text: we lived in a deeply interconnecTED world and so we had better find a way to get along. In this talk, Appiah explodes the very idea of religion while focusing on what people do. This discussion of practices (and the ways they can be misinterpreTED) makes for a useful supplement to his reading in the text.

Using It: In what ways is religion a collection of practices? What role do values have to play in religion? Which has primacy in people’s lives and which has primacy in the ways in which we think about religion?

About the Author
Barclay Barrios is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches freshman composition and graduate courses in composition methodology and theory, rhetorics of the world wide web, and composing digital identities. He was Director of Instructional Technology at Rutgers University and currently serves on the board of Pedagogy. Barrios is a frequent presenter at professional conferences, and the author of Emerging.