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Switch and persuasive speeches

June 12, 2010

My wife and I have been reading Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. She is impressed with the analysis as it applies to her job as a social worker. I used the analytical tools of the rational and emotional elements of thinking with the path to give my students a means to analyze persuasive videos and construct their videos and persuasive speeches.

In the book, they use the terms elephant for the emotional and rider for the rational mind. Change involves appealing to both parts of the mind and then deciding on a path to pursue the change. This is a gross oversimplification of the book, but it provides a nice framework for designing a tool for analyzing videos and outlining presentations. It also captures a basic structure of persuasion. So I had the students analyze persuasive videos by identifying the problem and solution. Next, I had them identify the logical or factual elements of the video, the appeals to emotion, and the path (recommendations) given for making the change the persuasion should lead to. We had some good discussions of the videos we watched including one I made. I made a video about refugees in part to have the experience of making an issues video. We also looked at some other videos including The Story of Stuff and some videos from the previous two semesters. I like the activity because it gives the students a framework that they can apply to analyze the videos and to guide them in making their own videos. However, they will be showing their final videos on Monday. At that time, we will see if the framework helps in designing more focused videos.

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