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Ambassadors' Favorite TED Talks: the Importance of Collaboration

Celeste Headlee leads a TedTalk focused on promoting more meaningful conversations with others. How does this apply to education?


Teaching is not a job in which you put up your blinders, plug in your headphones, and work without interaction. You are constantly conversing with students, teachers, administrators, and parents! Teachers exchange ideas and build off of one another. You are constantly collaborating.

Headlee makes a point to say that “conversational competence might be the single most overlooked skill we fail to teach.”

Conversation holds an important place in every community. Within your future school, district, department, and classroom conversation can be the greatest vehicle through which we create a positive learning environment. We require effective communication to ensure that the greatest ideas of the educational team are being enhanced and built upon.

Headlee offers 10 ways to have a better conversation, but it all comes down to the same principle: Conversations are a learning opportunity, so listen!

One of the greatest issues in collaboration within schools and departments is a lack of understanding among teachers, faculty, and parents. Some of us may have experienced this miscommunication first hand in volunteer opportunities, practicum, or our own school experiences. When one teacher fails to collaborate with another, it is not their relationship or their reputation at stake, but the students who are missing learning opportunities. Headlee suggests that the best way to overcome differences is to truly listen to each other. Everyone has something amazing to share as long as we are willing to listen for it.

“Conversations are not a promotional opportunity.” They are a learning opportunity! Effective communication requires an open mindset and the realization that your coworkers, your students, and the parents of those students each have important experiences, knowledge, and ideas to help share and build curriculum, classroom, and community.

Listen to Celeste Headlee’s “10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation” and find your own ways to connect conversation and education. Let us know what ideas you have in the comments below!

To read about other TedTalks and similar resources, click here. Have any questions about the McKay School of Education? Talk to one of our ambassadors here.

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