Brilliance in Urban Education: Ted Talk Analysis

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About this sample


Words: 1189 |

Pages: 3|

6 min read

Published: Feb 13, 2024

Words: 1189|Pages: 3|6 min read

Published: Feb 13, 2024

A big topic in society is education. When searching for a Ted Talk, I found a topic that would be inspiring to educators. The Ted Talk caught my attention was called “Teaching and Being Rachetdemic” by Christopher Emdin. This fourteen-minute video has a lot of useful information in it. He did such a good job with the way he presented this topic. A Ted Talk is a form of communication through an oral presentation. Throughout this rhetorical analysis I will be analyzing who this speaker is, the purpose of this presentation, who the audience is, evidence the speaker uses, and the genre of this presentation and how that affects the message.

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Before watching and listening to this Ted Talk, I wanted to learn more about who the speaker is. Emdin is an associate professor at Columbia University’s teacher’s College and is a contributor to The Huffington Post. He believes that the “best teachers can be found in the unlikeliest of places—and that traditional education theory is failing our students” (Christopher Emdin). Emdin founded the Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. (Bring Attention to Transforming Teaching, Learning, and Engagement in Science), which takes the techniques for self-expression and engagement used in hip-hop into his classroom. I also read what the talk was about before watching. It says about who you are has nothing to do with what you can do, and everyone has the capability to be brilliant when given the right setting. Since Emdin is a teacher and his style of teaching has been effective for him, I believe this video can be reliable.

The purpose of this presentation is to inform people and possibly to persuade people. At the beginning of his speech, Emdin begins with a serious of “talk about” statements. Such as, “So I’m here to talk about education, in particular, I have to talk about I want to talk about urban education and the only thing for me to really convey my feelings about how to improve urban education or about that area of study is to go back in my life and life history” (Christopher Emdin). This sentence was the first sentence of his speech. The first sentence of his speech was important because it gives the audience a good idea of what the whole presentation will be about. His tone and hand movements during these first several sentences are powerful and moving, making a listener excited, intrigued to hear and learn more. He did some hand movements that caught my eye instead of keeping his hands to his side. How I describe it is an excited person talking with their hands, making the thing he says come alive and have more feeling behind them. Just moving your hands in certain ways can show an audience how excited you are about what you are presenting.

He goes on to explain kids live in the projects, or other youth of color that would typically be considered unintelligent academically can be brilliant under the right circumstances. Emdin says, “I thought the rainbow’s colors came from the places that the rainbow hovered over so could you imagine my shock and surprise when one morning I look out and there is this perfectly shaped parabola and multiple colors over the housing projects rainbows are not supposed to be made in those places and so I started researching about rainbows and I realized that rainbows don’t care where you are or where you come from, rainbows just need sunlight droplets of water the water refraction reflects off the water drops disperses a color around the top of the place” (Christopher Emdin). Emdin explains what contributes to rainbows and portrays kids living in the projects as rainbows. “Rainbow just needs the perfect conditions to allow its brilliance to be expressed, it cares not where it happens” (Christopher Emdin). Project’s kids can be brilliant when given the perfect conditions. Using appropriate metaphors appeals directly to the senses of listeners, sharing their imaginations to comprehend what is being communicated to them. Moreover, it gives a life-like quality to this presentation.

The speaker then goes on to share his experience of being invited to a very exclusive event to discuss the topic of urban academics. He uses Ethos to express his credibility and trustworthiness. “Although I wanted to engage that I didn’t want to be the first person to eat and second I don’t know what the right fork was I was gonna get judged on that” (Christopher Emdin). “I was hungry I didn’t know the rules and because of that I didn’t feel comfortable enough to share, this is the experience of young folks in urban classrooms today, it’s not about their intelligence, it’s not about their ability, it’s not about their willingness to engage, it’s all about the rules of engagement that we construct for them that have nothing to do with their brilliance and the fact that we attached what they naturally are so being anti-intellectual and anti-academic” (Christopher Emdin). Emdin explains that he didn’t feel comfortable enough to share because he didn’t know the rules and didn’t want to eat first. He claims that this is the experience of young folks in urban classrooms today. Emdin introduces pathos in his speech to touch upon our delicate senses of pity, sympathy, sorrow, trying to develop an emotional connection with listeners to convince them and change their opinions.

Emdin considers being ratchet and academic is the cure. “You know some of y’all are rachet some of y’all have a ratchet friend some of y’all are the ratchet friend but either way ratchet exists but also you can be academic and intellectual and we’ve constructed a scenario for young people that you either have to choose to be ratchet or academic and because of that they choose what’s most comfortable” (Christopher Emdin). He uses words like “y’all” makes you feel comfortable like you are having a conversation rather than listening to a speech.

The audience that watches this video on the internet may be teachers, principals, administrators, or professors. Emdin is professional in his presentation and uses examples to back up his information. His word choices are powerful and moving. Avoiding using complex words makes the audience can sit down and watch this video and understand the point Emdin is trying to get across. The genre is an oral presentation. It was a person, Emdin, speaking on a topic that is of interest to him. Emdin also happens to be an expert in the field of the topic which is education.

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Emdin was the speaker of this Ted Talk called “Teaching and Being Rachetdemic.” He was a very motivational speaker and taught me a lesson. The purpose of this presentation was to inform teachers, principals, administrators, and future educators on how to improve urban education. Emdin uses plenty of evidence including his own experience. He used many tones in his voice and hand movements and passion behind his words that made the presentation more interesting. Lastly, I talked about the genre of this presentation. Oral presentations are different in the sense that they are spoken not written. I enjoyed watching this presentation and learned a lot about how to improve urban education.  

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Brilliance in Urban Education: TED Talk Analysis. (2024, February 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 17, 2024, from
“Brilliance in Urban Education: TED Talk Analysis.” GradesFixer, 13 Feb. 2024,
Brilliance in Urban Education: TED Talk Analysis. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Jun. 2024].
Brilliance in Urban Education: TED Talk Analysis [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Feb 13 [cited 2024 Jun 17]. Available from:
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