Are you a “multipotentialite”? Wait? What

Is it possible that we don’t have one true calling? That we have more than one talent? One gift? That is the question that Emilie Wapnick asks her TED audience. She is a self proclaimed “multipotentialite” which is to say, she has many potential careers and gifts.

I must say I got a little emotional watching this talk. I too am someone who is constantly looking for my one true thing only to feel disappointed in myself when I get interested in something new. It is a very freeing concept that my students loved to talk about…

Pre discussion

  • What did you want to be when you grew up?
  • If it changed, why did it change?
  • Why is it ok for children to have many career paths, but adults must chose one?

The Video

Watch the video and gather some of the main themes and points.

Post Video Discussion

First do a Tell Back.

  • Do you see yourself in Emilie’s concept of mulitipotentialite?
  • What are the advantages of exploring all our interests?
  • What are the multipotentialite’s “super powers”?
  • How are those skills relevant in today’s job market?

Have a good discussion!

Are billionaires a good or bad thing?

I don’t know if any of you buy lottery tickets, but I don’t. I suppose my logical brain tells me that the chances are so low that I shouldn’t waste my money. Still, when the jackpot goes up high, I can’t help my thoughts wander to odd fantasies of what I would do if I had that much money.

I’ve often heard that we need billionaires because they create wealth for everyone. In the financial terms, this notion of trickle down economics  is rooted in the idea that over taxing the wealthy will do more harm than good. Forbes magazine poses this very question and ask famous billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates about the consequences of a wealth tax. The answer may surprise you.

This article is a vocabulary rich text, appropriate for intermediate to advanced learners.

Pre discussion

  • What would you do if you were a billionaire?
  • Which billionaires are philanthropic (use their fortune to better the world)?
  • Do you think billionaires are a good thing or a bad thing?

The article–Forbes Bill Gates gets why people are doubting billionaires

  • Pull out the economic related vocabulary
  • Do a Tell Back of what Gates says about over taxing billionaires

The article is pretty intense, so I will leave it at those two points for now, but if you have a question suggestion, please don’t hesitate to add it to the comments.

Is too much choice making us unhappy?

The Paradox of Choice

Barry Schwartz exposes an interesting backlash of having too many options.

I suggest you watch this in small snippets and do short Tell Backs along the way.

Do you agree with Schwartz?

What are the advantages of choice?

What are some of the events in his life that led to this conclusion?

Can you thinks of events in your life that you would have preferred to have less choice?

What is your definition of success?

Success is a looming goal that can drive us, but also plague us. In Alain de Botton TED talk, he exposes his struggle with success and some of the elements that may shape our choices.

Pre discussion

  • How do you define success?
  • Who do you know that you consider successful?

The Video: TED A Kinder, Gentler, Philosophy of Success by Alain de Botton 

  • Divide the presentation into 5 min segments and do a Tell Back
    • First 5 min: What is snobbery according to Botton?
    • 5-10 min: What is meritocracy? How might it be destructive?
    • 10-15 min: What can literary tragedy teach us? Why does nature attract us?
  • If you have time, I would suggest doing a Mind Map of the main elements that contribute to our notion of success. Perhaps group them according to those that are good and bad.

What can governments do to stop climate change?

When we look at the ludicrous speed the planet is changing because of the human footprint, it can leave us feeling powerless. Thus all eyes are on our governments to fix the problem–to be the climate police. But is that fair? Can we trust them?

In this Frontline report, we are confronted by some of the barriers to climate change measures.

Pre discussion

  • What do you know about climate change?
  • What are some of the elements that contribute to fossil fuel emission?
  • What habits have you changed to reverse the trend?

The Video: Frontline: Leadership on Climate Change: Can America Summon the Political Will?

  • Why is there a disconnect between science and policy in America?
  • Why are some reluctant to support policy that puts constraints on manufacturers?
  • Should the government be financing innovation?
  •  Who wins by blocking climate friendly legislation? Who loses?
  • What are other countries doing that has helped the climate change movement?

Would you eat the marshmallow?

TED features Joachim de Posada’s presentation of the famous “marshmallow” test done children. It is a test that claims to predict the success of those children through their ability to delay gratification.

I won’t go into great detail about the test because the video only last about 5 min. I will say this, although this test makes me feel a little uncomfortable, I think it makes an interesting discussion.

Pre discussion

  • Do you consider yourself a patient person?
  • What things or events in your life have you had to wait for?
  • What stories or anecdotes from your life show how you are patient or impatient?

The video: Don’t eat the marshmallow by Joachim de Posada TED

  • How did the video of the children make you feel?
  • How did the children act around the marshmallow?
  • If it were you, would you have eaten it? Why?
  • Why do you think it is important to be able to delay gratification?
  • What do you think Posada means by “we are eating more marshmallows that we produce?”
  • Do you agree?