How to learn English with TED Talks

TED talks are a great way of improving your vocabulary and listening skills. TED stands for Technology, Education and Design, and this is a series of free conferences and events where speakers talk about specialist topics in a way that’s accessible to laypeople

  • Click here to go to TED talks website 

There is a huge range of topics to choose from, so there’s certainly no shortage of listening practice! To narrow things down, you can use the search function that allows you to choose a topic, a language (English), and length of the talk (mostly from 6 minutes to 18+ minutes). Once you have a list of talks, you can sort the results into most viewed talks first if you want to see what has been popular with other people.

So how can you make the most of this resource?  Here are the useful features that will help you improve your English:

1.       Use of images

The talks are filmed, so you can watch the speaker and their visuals, which helps you to understand the topic

2.       Subtitles

Most talks have subtitles, so you can listen and read at the same time, noting down any new words.

3.       Interactive transcript

Most talks have an interactive transcript. This means that you can read the script before or after watching. If you click on a specific sentence in the script, you’ll be taken to that point in the talk.


You can engage with the talks by adding comments. Practise expressing your opinion in English to people all over the world! 

We recommend only watching the talks that you’re genuinely interested in.  If you’re interested, you’ll be more motivated, and you will be more likely to remember any new language. Keep an open mind however, and don’t be afraid to explore new topics. 


Get into (phrasal verb) – to start taking an active interest in something

Laypeople (plural noun) – people who have no specialist knowledge of a topic

Shortage (noun) – not enough of something

Narrow down (phrasal verb) – to reduce the number of options available

Handy (adjective) – convenient, useful

Visuals (noun) – images for people to look at during a talk, for example, slides and graphs

This blog has been written at level B2. Practise your reading skills and learn more about the benefits of improving your professional English by reading the blogs below:

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