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Exploring Ethical Communication and Effective Persuasion using Intercultural Rhetoric and TED Talks

Discussion Overview

In this course, you will be using the tools of intercultural rhetoric to identify a problem in your community that needs solving and propose a way to address that problem. This unit’s discussion is meant to prepare you for that process by exploring how others have engaged in this process. For example, Steven Johnson’s TED Talk “Where Good Ideas Come From” explores how people can generate ideas through conversations with others. After reviewing Steven Johnson’s TED Talk and this week’s reading “The Rhetoric of Community Engagement,” tell the class what stood out to you as the most important elements of ethical communication and collaborating with others to generate ideas. Be sure to discuss both Johnson’s talk and Linda Flower’s concept of intercultural rhetoric. Then, find a persuasive TED Talk and tell the class about it. Be sure to provide the link to the TED Talk that you watched and key identifying details like the author, title, and main argument of the speaker. Explain why you selected this persuasive TED Talk and how it illustrated effective persuasive communication. How did the TED speaker that you watched convince the audience of their position? Use this brainstorming guide to brainstorm ideas and prepare your response. Wrap up your post with an open-ended question for your classmates to respond to when they reply to your post.

Questions to Consider for Critical Reading

•  Does the subject bring up any personal associations? Is it a controversial one?
What is the thesis (the overall main point)?
•  How does the thesis interpret the subject? If asked, could you summarize the main idea?
Who is the intended audience?
•  What values and/or beliefs does the writer appeal to?
What is the tone of the text?
•  What is your reaction to the text, emotional or rational (think of pathos)? Does this reaction change at all throughout the text?
What is the author’s purpose?
• To explain? Inform? Anger? Persuade? Amuse? Motivate? Sadden? Ridicule? Attack? Defend?
•  Is there more than one purpose? Does the purpose shift at all throughout the text?
What methods does the author use to develop his/her ideas?
•  Narration? Description? Definition? Comparison? Analogy? Cause and Effect? Example?
•  Why does the writer use these methods? Do these methods help in his/her development of ideas?
In what way does the author use diction?
•  Is the language emotionally evocative? Does the language change throughout the piece? How does the language contribute to the writer's aim?
Are there any repetitions of important terms?
•  Are these repetitions effective, or do they detract from the text?
Does the writer present any particularly vivid images that stand out?
•  What is the effect of these images on the writer's purpose

Are there any other devices such as humor, wordplay, irony, sarcasm, understatement, or parody that are used in the text?
•  Is the effect comic relief? Pleasure? Hysteria? Ridicule?
Is there any information about the background of the writer?
• Is the writer an acceptable authority on the subject? How do you know?

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