5 TED Talks That Will Inspire Your Child to Do Homework

Examination stress

Guest post written by Dom Gibson on April 12, 2018 

The famed TED conference produces talks every year that inspire, entertain, amuse, provoke and encourage. There is now such a gigantic TED library that you can find hours of speeches dedicated to a wealth of topics, many tackling current education trends and the established forms of teachings, as well as its challenges.

One challenge that stands the test of time will come as no surprise to parents and teachers – the mission of encouraging consistent completion of homework. Homework is a divisive issue, with some schools in recent years, choosing to abolish it completely. However, not all students are quite so blessed, here are some inspiring TED talks that tackle the concept of homework head on and make a strong case for putting effort into its completion (some links open in YouTube).

1. The Power of a 5th Grade Homework Assignment – Shelly Anne Rosen
A particularly unusual case, but definitely a case study worth considering! While helping her son with a homework assignment in 2005, Shelley learned about a topic which she hadn’t previously engaged with; the Rwandan genocide of 1994. The subject resonated with her when she saw a parallel to the Holocaust, and she was drawn into learning more about the event. Her pursuits took her down a path that has led to meeting and marrying a Rwandan man, opening a tour company with her husband, and becoming a volunteer with Seattle’s Holocaust Centre for Humanity. It seems like an interesting anecdote on the surface, but this story speaks volumes about the important lesson of seeking out knowledge that homework instils. Learning shouldn’t stop at school – the quest for information can drive you to a richer life and a healthy, inquisitive mind! Your passion could just be waiting to be discovered.

2. This Company Pays Students to do Their Homework – Mohamad Jebara
Don’t go into this video expecting the moral to be ‘pay kids to do stuff!’ – not entirely, at least. Mohamad goes into some interesting findings from studies carried out with students of varying ages and talks about interesting concepts such as students’ “attention budgets” in today’s “attention economy”, noting the competing demands on children’s concentration such as Facebook, gaming consoles and apps. According to further findings, it is far more effective to reward input, such as greater levels of effort, than it is to reward output such as higher test scores. Additionally, younger students can be persuaded with a trophy, but for older students, cash was the way forward.

3. Why We Procrastinate – Vik Nithy
A scientific yet simplified look into the reasons why sometimes, we just can’t muster up the energy to try, and our distractions end up winning. Vik Nithy, himself founded three companies by the age of 20, despite a diagnosis of ADHD impacting his ability to concentrate.

4. How to Triple Your Memory – Richard Lieuw On
This is a particularly useful talk for students who struggle with retention of information, and as such don’t see a point doing homework. Richard shows you a simple but deep trick that can be improvised for any topic and can even help flex those creative muscles as you commit more to memory than standard repetition can often achieve. For those who feel like trying to memorize information is pointless, should watch this video and try to play along with the exercises. You may find the results surprising and perhaps your student might be more eager to try a new trick or two that will help them to improve their memory performance.

5. What Do Top Students Do Differently? – Douglas Barton
This talk addresses the truth behind the students who preform best when it comes to marks and grades. It breaks down and dispels the myth that the top students are ‘just better’, and that they aren’t equipped with a superior IQ that catapults them ahead of their peers. To become better student, as Douglas explains, is just about hard work, so that you’re actually learning something and not just jumping through set hoops.

So, if you’re struggling to get your child to comply with their homework, maybe it’s worth sitting and watching one of these inspiring TED talks with them.

Do you have a favorite TED talk that inspires or motivates you to work? Or have you found a genius way to encourage your child to do their homework with enthusiasm? Talk to me about it in the comments!

About the Author
Dom Gibson is the educational content editor at Tutorful, the UK’s fastest growing provider of tutoring services in English and English Literature. He works with expert educators to find the most innovative educational resources, and then shares them with amazing educational sites.