"Curiosity comes first."

Flames, propulsion, and electricity were part of chemistry teacher Ramsey Musallam’s TED Talk, all safely demonstrated on video behind him on the TED stage.  The San Francisco teacher also included a video of a student’s experiment, which she had conducted at home after being inspired by a lesson. Musallam emphasized the need to engage students’ curiosity, and let their questions be a guide for teaching.

-“Student questions are the seeds of real learning — not some scripted curriculum that gives them tidbits of random information.”

-“Questions and curiosity are like magnets that draw us towards our teachers. And they transcend all technology and buzz words in education.”

Ramsey Musallam speaking at TED Talks Education
Ramsey Musallam
Speaker, TED Talks Education

Ramsey Musallam is the a high school chemistry teacher at Sacred Heart Cathedral High School in downtown San Francisco and adjunct professor of education at Touro University. Upon receiving his Doctorate in Multimedia Learning from the University of San Francisco, Dr. Musallam’s research interests have shifted from a focus on technology in the classroom, to an emphasis on establishing learning environments grounded in inquiry, motivation and curiosity, using technology as a strategic classroom partner. In addition to the classroom, Dr. Musallam facilitates professional development experiences for teachers nationally and internationally, and is the host of the Infinite Thinking Machine, an internet TV show dedicated to spreading innovation and creativity to fellow educators.

  • Erma Jeans

    Thank you, Ramsey for using your children as an example of the power of curiosity and teaching. I was recently denied admission into a post-bac teaching certification program because I apparently “interview poorly” and “couldn’t use descriptions beyond my children as to my teaching experience”. Well, I thought, if a mother can’t teach her own children what business does she have teaching other’s children?

PBS WNET New York Public Media CPB Corporation for Public Broadcasting TED American Graduate