Teach Like TED with Rachael Mann

Founder and Managing Director of #TeachlikeTED, Rachael Mann assists educators in applying the principles of effective presentation delivery. She trains educators across the country on how to transform educational leadership and the classroom through these principles, and how to transform the lives of students by teaching them how to share their ideas in a TED-style fashion.

Rachael also speaks to student groups and trains them in leadership, presentation literacy, global collaboration, and communication skills. She is a former high school Career and Technical Education teacher with 14 years of classroom experience. Since leaving the classroom, she has served as the Director of Educators Rising at the Arizona Department of Education and as the Network to Transform Teaching State Director through Northern Arizona University. She has a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership through Northern Arizona University, serves as a fellow for the Association for Career and Technical Education Arizona, and is on the board for the National Council of Local Administrators.

Rachael shares her journey of becoming the inspiring educator and speaker she is today from that of a fearful college student and young educator. She nearly dropped out of college prep coursework because of the public speaking component. Fortunately she realized this fear did not translate to fear of speaking in a classroom to students. It did, however, cause an issue when she was asked to speak to a group of teachers to share updates about a program she was overseeing. She went so far as to call in sick. It was then that she decided that she would do whatever it took to ensure that fear would never cause her to miss out again.

She educated herself and became involved in Ed Rising as a state director. She found herself in a position where she needed to teach leadership and public speaking skills to high school students. This was the impetus that led her to seek out and use TED talks as a model. She began exploring what made them go viral and what key characteristics influenced the success of the TED talks and speakers.  She implemented these into her guidance for students and began to realize the impact it made on not only her skills but those of the students.

Within a year, she had presented this information over 25 times at various speaking engagements including a Best Practice Conference. She made the decision to shift her her career and focus solely on presentations and sharing her knowledge of presentation literacy with student groups and educators.

Some of the organization that hire her for speaking engagements include the Google EdTech Team and presentations for CTE (Career in Technical Education). Over time CTE expanded to have an overarching occupational focus inclusive of 5 areas of FACS, Family and Consumer Sciences:

  1. Culinary Arts
  2. Hospitality
  3. Interior Design
  4. Fashion Design
  5. Early Childhood.

Rachael has a presentation: Teach like TED and FACS Ed. In this presentation, she teaches students skills for presentation that enables them to fine tune their abilities for winning scholarships and competitions.

She shares a brief overview of the 10 Principles that she has defined overtime and adapted from TED principles, including the 18 Minute rule based on John Medina’s, a brain scientist, 18-minute rule. The brain needs breaks in order to stay focused and captivated. Rachael urges teachers to break up the traditional 50-minute classroom session into 5 10-minute groups that alternate between instruction styles to stimulate different parts of the brain.

For example, move from narrative to analytic instruction; use video clips along with pictures for active involvement. Teachers should also have novelty in teaching and share new innovative things to keep the classroom fresh, and deliver jaw dropping moments.

For this principle Rachael exampled her own application with Home Economics with introducing a unit on food safety and preparation with the title of the Zombie Apocalypse. She realized that learners who otherwise would not have been engaged in a particular lesson were intrigued and actively participating in the class. Here are a few of the principles she teaches:

  • Novelty: Teach Things in a New Way
  • Deliver Jaw Dropping Moments
  • Passion
  • Authenticity: Be Vulnerable with Students
  • What’s the Big Idea?
  • Incorporate Humor
  • Make It Visual
  • 18 Minute Rule

Although rarely afforded the opportunity to know how the implementation of these steps affects those attending the conferences she has had a few times where attendees seek her out afterwards. At one conference she was approached by an attendee that had previously been to another presentation earlier in the year. Rachael was elated to know that not only had this women attended several times but had been successful in implementing these steps into her own school and began their own teachliketed club.

One of her proudest student moments was that of one of her Ed Rising students who has one 1st place at the state level, went on to place 1st in the Nationals and impressed the judges so much that the invited him to speak on stage to share his ideas. She is going to be traveling to Nebraska to a conference where he is a key note speaker.

We are not encouraging students to use their voice when we make them sit and be silent. Students would rather text one another than speak. We need to encourage their voice, inspire their confidence and help them realize their dreams. Rachael has speaking engagements across the country and encourages everyone to visit her on Twitter (#teachliketed or @rlmann4), LinkedIn (rlmann4), email (rachael@teachliketed.org); and Facebook ( teachliketed).

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