Sir Ken Robinson's TED talk Do Schools Kill Creativity is the most popular TED talk ever given, with just under 45 million views at the time of my writing this. It is so influential that Robinson has a page on his website devoted to feedback forms about how the talk changed people's lives.
It is also nonsense. And yet, somehow, I was also convinced by it when I first heard it. The weakness of Robinson's arguments combined with the powerful effect he seems to have on people are testament to his incredible skill as a public speaker. The talk demands closer scrutiny even if only to take notes on how to give persuasive presentations.
Almost all of Robinson's claims given in the talk are either given without any supporting evidence or argumentation, or are demonstrably wrong. A large portion of his statements are of the "I strongly believe that..." form, reminiscent a church pastor or of George W. Bush. The remaining time is padded out with well-chosen jokes and anecdotes, which appear to support his case, but, more importantly, build rapport with his audience.
In this episode of the podcast, I provide a critique of Do Schools Kill Creativity, highlighting both the speaker's rhetorical devices and the failings of his argument.
Enjoy the episode.
Music by podcastthemes.com. Audio samples from TED.com.