Students from Professor Sean Conner's

Every student at Saddleback College must take speech if they want to transfer to a four year college and every speech teacher raves about the importance of watching and doing reviews on “Ted Talks.” This is because they automatically improve a student’s ability to speak.

“They are excellent examples of strong confident public speakers and what they talk about reinforces positive communication skills,” said Conner, an instructor at Saddleback and Orange Coast College. “Students get a more clear understanding of how to give great speeches, choose important topics and learn unique ideas.”

He says the benefits help students feel more confident in their person by helping them recognize that their voice matters and then realize that choosing words wisely is important. He hands out extra credit to students and ask for reviews to help them pass. Here are two, examples of reviews that were written for Conner’s class and what he expected from his outline on reviewing them.

“How Do Schools Kill Creativity?”

The topic is about how creativity is lost  in a world of education. And Ken Robinson opens the speech by talking about how education taught today is not allowing creativity in individuals to flourish. He starts by walking on stage sort of clumsy-like while he mutters nonsense that makes people laugh. It is an impactful attention getter.

He argues that education is stripping our human minds and not allowing creativity to be produced. We should see creative capacities in children for the hope they are to become and not let education stifle this away. It’s important to see a whole being like the way we see dancers. Not only do we think in movement, but with movement, voices and vision. Not everyone will see things the same. He goes further to explain how he is convinced that public education only produces university professors, people that are at the top of the chain. This sets up for a good participating audience to be engaged in listening to Robinson speak. He also uses great words like:

“All kids have tremendous talents and we squander them pretty ruthlessly,” he said.

The purpose of the speech is to look at creativity just as importantly as we look at academics. He blames universities for designing the whole education system away from creativity and stressing the fact that education is just as important as literacy and we should treat it with the same status.

The effectiveness of the argument is that we grow out of creativity this way, not grow  into it.

The impact of Robinson’s storytelling techniques help the audience understand what he is trying to say. For instance he talks about children’s creativity through narratives like Shakespeare and what it would be like for him to sit in an English class. What would the teacher say? Would his weird language annoy the teacher?

Kids will take a chance when they are young not feeling frightened or wrong. But education slowly teaches kids that mistakes are the worst thing you can make. The mentioning of kids works well for the speech because it is relatable to those who either have kids or have been a kid.

“ I believe our only hope for the future is to adopt a new conception of human ecology,” Robinson said. He would like to see educators rethink education by implanting ideas of creativity into children’s minds.

“For the future it won’t service and we should see creative capacities for the richness they are and children for the hope they are,” he said.

The response was tremendous to his unique topic and I would only add what innovative ways people are exploring to make this a stronger piece. Is there change across the globe for future generations?

The second review is about a speech by Sherry Turkle. Her message has to deal with society as well and titled:

“Connected, But Alone?”

If we expect more from technology, then we may expect less from each other explains Sherry Turkle as she talks about how relationships are becoming more and more altered  due to technology . She opens up her speech by giving an example of a text she received from her daughter and explains in her topic how studies of online personas are redefining human connection and communication. In this case she is happy to receive the text encouraging her to speak, but to remember that it is a frequent means of communication.

Turkle has full credibility to speak on the subject of how technology is leaving us more alone but keeping us still connected. She calls it “Alone Together” and has a strong argument for her case about the importance of being aware that we are at risk in our relationships with each other due to technology. She has studied technology in her job position which put her on the cover of Wired Magazine.

“People want to be with each other but also elsewhere,” Turkle said. “People want to hide from each other[ too].”

I believe the purpose of her topic is to make us  aware of what we are doing and how we are adapting to a perfect edited new way of communication. We edit our text and emails. We get to erase. She calls it the Goldilocks-effect. “Not too little and not to much.” Meaning we want to control how much time we spend with each other and how close we want to be.

Her argument includes that technology doesn’t allow us to have real conversations with each other. The human quality is not being developed. “We expect more from technology and less from each other,” she said. This works well in her speech because it is relatable.

Her impact on pointing this out to the audience gives us a clear understanding of how people are relying on robots to try and solve loneliness in the way of using a quick text to touch base. It isn’t enough to really connect. It still leaves us with the feeling of being alone. Before we would speak to each other on the phone, but now it’s pretty much only texting on the phone.

She ask us to think about having self awareness of our surroundings. Maybe find designating talking space at home for a real conversation. I believe it would be wonderful to expand more on the solution because I have kids. I love how she concludes with a command to love our families and friends, with real life situations, and remember to use computers to enhance but not replace.

One student mentions how Ted Talks have been helpful to him in his career. He finds them addicting because most topics are different and come with some sort of twist.


“I actually give speeches for my job and try to watch as many as I can,” said Joey Pineda, a business who watches the Ted Radio Hour on NPR.

Professor Conner’s top three favorites include  ‘Schools Kill Creativity’ by Ken Robinson, ‘Body Language Can Shape who You Are’ and the ‘Lost Art of Doing Debate’ by Michael Sandez.

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About Author

Most post you see of mine have to do with music, art and the community. I love to cover stories via print, web, podcast/radio news and video segmenting. The most interesting people that I have come across are those who have passion, passion for whatever they are doing. These sort of people give me the drive to have passion for whatever I am doing and that is what I like most about the spirit of the aspiring journalist.

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