It took a life-threatening condition to jolt chemistry teacher Ramsey Musallam out of ten years of “pseudo-teaching” to understand the true role of the educator: to cultivate curiosity. In a fun and personal talk, Musallam gives 3 rules to spark imagination and learning, and get students excited about how the world works.



  • What is it that motivates you to learn new things?
  • How do you learn new things? Do you focus more on theory or practice?





  • nod – lower and raise one’s head slightly and briefly, especially in greeting, assent, or understanding, or to give someone a signal
  • geek out – enthuse about a specific topic, not realizing that most people listening will fail to understand it
  • beaker – a lipped cylindrical glass container for laboratory use
  • buzzword – a word or phrase, often an item of jargon, that is fashionable at a particular time or in a particular context
  • lingo – the vocabulary or jargon of a particular subject or group of people
  • jargon – special words or expressions used by a profession or group that are difficult for others to understand
  • mumbo jumbo – language or ritual causing or intended to cause confusion or bewilderment
  • tidbit – a small and particularly interesting item of gossip or information
  • audacity – a willingness to take bold risks


Think about it

Answer the questions below.

  • What really fascinated Ramsey about Maddie’s demonstration? (1:23)
  • What is Ramsey’s attitude to technology in class? (2:19)
  • What three things gave the doctor the confidence he had? (3:51)
  • What role a teacher should embrace according to Ramsey?
  • Do you remember your favourite teacher?


Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words. Use ONE word per blank space.

In May of 2010, ________ 35 years old, with a two-year-old ________ home and my second child ________ the way, I was diagnosed ________  a large aneurysm ________ the base of my thoracic aorta. This led ________ open-heart surgery. This is the actual real email from my doctor right there. Now, when I got this, I was — press Caps Lock — absolutely freaked ________, okay? But I found surprising moments _______ comfort in the confidence that my surgeon embodied. Where ________ this guy get this confidence, the audacity of it?


Fill in the blank spaces with the correct forms of the words in CAPITAL LETTERS.

So when I asked him, he told me three things. He said first, his ________ CURIOUS drove him to ask hard questions about the ________ PROCEED, about what worked and what didn’t work. Second, he embraced, and didn’t fear, the messy process of ________ TRY and _______ ERR, the inevitable process of trial and error. And third, through intense ________ REFLECT, he gathered the information that he needed to design and ________ REVISION the procedure, and then, with a steady hand, he saved my life.

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