TED Talks

I’ve been looking into the TED: Ideas Worth Sharing website.

TED describes itself in the following words…

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader.

The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).

This site makes the best talks and performances from TED available to the public, for free.

I mention TED for several reasons…

  1. TED is an extremely influential Internet soapbox for sharing ideas.  If you have read my posts regarding the search for a Tipping Point for the Montessori movement, you will remember that the Early Adopters are “the opinion leaders in the community, the respected, thoughtful people who watched and analyzed what those wild Innovators were doing and then followed suit” (Gladwell, 2002).  TED is an excellent venue for reaching world opinion leaders.
  2. There are already 2 TED talks that at least mention Montessori.  2 out of 210 talks. These talks are described below.
  3. Angeline S. Lillard, PhD would be a phenomenal speaker for TED.  More about this below. 

 These 2 TED speakers mention Montessori Education as a significant influence in their lives.

  • Will Wright, explains in the first few minutes that his Montessori Education in Atlanta was the high point of his education, and that he conceives of his highly successful computer games (SimCity, Sims, and more) as modern Montessori “toys”.  This is a very interesting concept and I personally think that Montessori Auto-Didactic computer materials would be an interesting approach to more advanced studies such as higher mathematics and theoretical science.
  • Sergey Brin and Larry Page: Inside the Google Machine explain google and briefly mention their Montessori education about 8minutes 50 seconds into the speech.  It is interesting to watch the video and consider how a Montessori education may have influenced their decisions and approach to business.

If Angeline S. Lillard PhD was invited to speak at TED, her speech could throw a bright light on the Montessori method are rekindle interest in the academic and world communities.

Please help nominate Angeline S Lillard PhD by completing this simple web form at the TED website.  Click here.

I have included the information that I typed into the form.  You are welcome to use it as a starting point for your answers if you like.

First Name of the Nominee  
Last Name of the Nominee  
Telephone No. 
(434) 982 4750
Email Address  
Tell us briefly about the speaker: Occupation? Honors or distinctions? Recent work? Why are you recommending them? *
Professor of psychology at the University of Virginia.  Here is a link to her online CV http://people.virginia.edu/~asl2h/CV/CVIndex.htm.
She has recently published a best-selling book Montessori: The Science behind the Genius that takes a fresh look at the Montessori method through the critical lens of contemporary psychology. 
After noting the influence of the Montessori method expressed in the TED talks of Will Wright, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and after listening to Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk, I believe that the pedagogy developed by Maria Montessori is worth sharing with the TED community.  Robinson describes the problems resulting from an educational system developed on industrial revolution principles, and the Montessori method is an alternative developed a century ago through scientific observation of the developmental needs of children.  He has illuminated a problem in education, and Montessori may very well be the answer.  In her book and speaking engagements, Dr. Lillard has done an excellent job explaining through current psychological research, why the Montessori method is so effective. 
Please provide links to any articles or web pages about the speaker.
Please provide links to any online audio or video featuring the proposed speaker.
How do you think this person would best fit with the conference theme, “The Great Unveiling”?
Montessori’s work has largely been forgotten by history.  She was a mentor and predecessor to Jean Piaget.  Much of his research was conducted in Montessori classrooms and he was President of the Swiss Montessori Society.  Erik Erikson was a Montessori trained teacher and once can see his Psycho-Social stages of development as an expansion of Montessori’s Planes of Development.  Dr. Montessori was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1949, 1950, and 1951 before her death in 1952.   It is difficult to say why her work has been largely forgotten, perhaps because she chose to travel and lecture rather than sit as a professor at any one institution, perhaps because she was a pioneer in Education who shifted into that field from Medicine bringing a fresh but outside perspective.  Perhaps because she was a woman, or because WWII shook the world and she died shortly after it’s conclusion.  In her lifetime her work was supported by Alexander Graham Bell and his wife Mabel, who founded the Montessori Educational Association, Thomas Edison, Mahatma Ghandi, and Helen Keller.  If TED had existed a century ago, Dr. Montessori would have been invited along with these influential thinkers who supported her ideas.  Dr. Montessori is gone, but Dr. Lillard’s work is an effort to Unveil the lost treasure of Montessori’s work. 

Gladwell, M. (2002). The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. New York: Back Bay Books.


2 thoughts on “TED Talks

  1. I agree with this post. Now is the time to listen and hear information about an important alternative system of education for our public schools. Dr. Montessori designed this approach to support and enhance the intelligence and imagination of human beings. It would be very enlightening to hear Angeline Lillard describe the Science behind the Genius.

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