Teaching & Discussing September 11, 2001 with TED

Looking for new ways to have discussions that matter surrounding 9/11?

Check out these TED Talks as ways to spark discussion or as text for Socratic Seminar, mini-seminars, whole class discussion, etc.  Don’t forget you could put these in EdPuzzle and add questions.

  • First, Aicha el-Wafi + Phyllis Rodriguez: The mothers who found forgiveness, friendship – a TED Talk from two mothers, one of a victim of the 9/11 attacks and one of a convicted conspirator in the attacks.  Simply the nature of this relationship – and the nature of grieving, remembrance, suffering – can spark a discussion different from the typical 9/11 discussions we have each year.  We don’t often think about the victims’ mothers and I’d venture to guess that we never think about the conspirators’ mothers.  Here, there is humanity amidst and beyond terrorism.  How does this/can this change how we think about 9/11 13 years later?  Why, in the aftermath of terrorism, should we embrace getting to know people from other countries, cultures, and religions?
  • Second, Zak Ebrahim: Zak Ebrahim: I am the son of a terrorist. Here’s how I chose peace – a TED Talk from the son of a terrorist (one involved in the 1993 World Trade Center attack that killed 6 and injured many more).  Although his father was involved in a different terrorist attack than the one we’re remembering on Thursday, Ebrahim’s talk is still relevant and poignant.  Consider discussing some of Ebrahim’s points about learning to hate (rather than hate being innate to a person or religion) about choosing peace . . . about not following in a father’s footsteps.   Now, 13 years since the attacks, some children of victims and terrorists are adults.  What is the personal, rather than national or international effect of these attacks?  Where does terrorism come from?  How do we choose peace?  There’s wonderful fodder for discussion here:
  • Third, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: Inside a school for suicide bombers – a TED Talk from a woman who completed a documentary, Children of the Taliban and spent time inside a school training children to be a part of their organization.  This is a terrifying TED Talk that begs many questions: What is the relationship between poverty and terrorism? (Interesting connection to our own military recruiting strategies) Why does the Taliban target children from poor families? What is the power of education? How do we fight this level of strategic indoctrination?  What is the danger of ignorance? Of relying on others for information?  This would be great paired with either 1 (the mothers) or 2 (the terrorist son) to discuss why we should reach out and know others and/or how we change (if we can) our path [can the young boys in this school change their “fate” the way Zak Ebrahim did?]

As always, if you need anything, want help planning or another brain to throw ideas around with, let me know!


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