skip to main content

Leading adult education through support for and the effective application of technology.

TED Ed Lessons: The World’s English Mania

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required


Website Example:

More Ways

Computer(s), Internet access, speaker(s) or headsets, projector (optional), printer (optional)

Activity Description

Use this video in class to discuss the reasons for learning and the importance of knowing English around the world and give students listening, reading, and writing practice with the activities based on the video. In this TED Talk, Jay Walker explains why two billion people around the world are trying to learn English. The video has comprehension and open ended questions, additional resources, and an online discussion board. With a free account, teachers can customize this and other lessons on the site or create their own lessons based on online videos.


  1. Make sure that the site is not blocked at your school before using it with students. Set the computer speaker(s) at a reasonable volume.
  2. Find a video lesson to use: Search for video lessons  by category, filter by content, student educational level, and video duration, or enter a topic in the search box.
  3. Customize a video lesson:
    • Register for an account and verify your e-mail address in the e-mail you receive. Registered users can customize a video lesson by selecting "Customize This Lesson."
    • You can then revise the "Let’s begin" section at the top of the lesson and choose to have the lesson Listed or Unlisted on the site, and to allow or disallow customization of the lesson by other users.
    • Scrolling down, the "Think" section (on the right) has 5 questions. You can choose to exclude the questions or to add questions (select "Create your own question");
    • Select "Dig Deeper" to add additional resources or to exclude this section.
    • Select "Discuss" to review or exclude old discussions, add new discussions, or exclude the section (select "Preview and Save" if changes are made to this section).
    • To save a customized lesson, scroll down a bit further and select the "Publish" button.
  4. Create a video lesson:
    • Register for an account and verify your e-mail address in the e-mail you receive. You will receive an additional e-mail with a step-by-step guide for creating a TED-Ed lesson around any TED Talk, TED-Ed Original, or any video on YouTube.
    • Select an online video  or search for any video on YouTube  then simply paste the video's YouTube link (listed or unlisted) into the search bar below "Create a Lesson."
    • Plan what questions you would like to ask and use the TED-Ed Lesson Editor to build your lesson.
    • Create a custom title for your lesson, or just use the title of the YouTube video.
    • Use the "Let's Begin" section to add text to set the context for your learners. Add questions (multiple choice or open answer), extra materials (you can include links and pictures), and discussion topics to the video.
  5. Publish and share your lesson.
    • You can share any published lesson privately via e-mail or by using the lesson's unique URL. Only individuals with the lesson's link will see your lesson.
    • You can also share the lesson more publicly using the social sharing icons.
    • You can always revisit or revise any lesson draft or published lesson by visiting your TED-Ed activity page, including editing the settings and sections of your TED-Ed lessons.
  6. See TED Ed FAQs  for more help with any of the above.
  7. Plan pre-viewing and post-viewing activities. If you plan to have students do the video activities individually, they will need to register for accounts on the site.
  8. If you plan to use the sample video lesson (see Example Web Site link above), watch the video in its entirety and practice answering the questions yourself. Again, note that you will need to be registered and logged in to do the activities. Note words that may be unfamiliar to your students (such as mania) and plan how you will pre-teach these vocabulary words. Download the “What do you know about languages” PowerPoint and handout (see above). Modify as desired and prepare photocopies.


  1. Give students the "What do you know about languages" handout (see Example Document above). Give them time to answer the questions individually, remarking that they may not know the answers, but to make their best guesses. The purpose is to see what they already know about the topic. Allow students to compare/share their answers in pairs or small groups.
  2. Open the PowerPoint (see Example Document above), projected on a screen, and start the slideshow. Ask the first question and elicit answers. Click through the slideshow to provide answers. Ask students if there was anything that surprised them and/or what they already knew.
  3. Ask students to name a few reasons why they are taking your class. Optionally, write their answers on the board.
  4. Tell students that they are going to watch a video lecture about the importance of English study in the world. Tell students that the name of the video is "The World’s English Mania." Giving some examples (soccer mania) and ask students to define “mania” in their own words. You may want to point out that this use of “mania” is closer to fanaticism than the medical/psychological term.
  5. Watch the 4:31 minute video from Ted Talks together as a class or have students watch on individual computers or Internet-enabled devices.
  6. Note: If you want students to do the activities individually, they will need to have already registered for an account and have logged in. To register, students will need to fill out the registration form by selecting Register in the upper right on the TED Ed home page . Then verify their e-mail address with the e-mail sent to the e-mail account they used to register. Model the four activities:
    • Think -- four multiple choice questions and one open answer question. Read question, select answer, choose "Save My Answer," and get immediate feedback. If the wrong answer is chosen, there is an option to try again or to get a video hint (the part of the video in which the answer is provided is replayed). Select "Go to Next Question."
    • Dig Deeper: Lists textual information on additional resources which are primarily other TED Talks on the same topic or a similar topic.
    • Discuss: The discussion questions are the following: How many languages do you speak? Do you think it's important to know English? Select "View Discussion" to read discussion board entries. Select "Respond" to submit a post to the discussion board questions. Registered users can also respond to individual posts.

More Ways

  • As a follow-up you may want to assign individual students or pairs/small groups to read, take notes, and write summaries or orally summarize their findings from any of the additional resources in the Dig Deeper section.
  • You may also choose students to compose sentences or a paragraph and submit to you for feedback before posting on the Discuss section’s discussion board.
  • To expand the writing, you could have a class brainstorming session on “Why it is important to know English” after students have read the posts in the Discuss section and then have students compose a paragraph with a topic sentence, three sentences of support, and a conclusion.



  • Beginning High
  • Intermediate Low
  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced


Basic Communication

  • (0.1) Communicate in interpersonal interactions
  • (0.2) Communicate regarding personal information

Basic Communication

  • (2.7) Understand aspects of society and culture

Basic Communication

  • (7.2) Demonstrate ability to use critical thinking skills
  • (7.3) Demonstrate ability to use problem-solving skills
  • (7.4) Demonstrate study skills
  • (7.7) Demonstrate the ability to use information and communication technology
  • (7.1) Identify or demonstrate effective skills and practices in accomplishing goals
Scroll To Top

OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.