The idea behind doing lesson plans as a final project struck me as the most helpful in both furthering my ability to create these as a potential future educator as well as providing a reflection process for my own means of grappling with political rhetoric and all of the baggage it carries. It allowed me to further break down the discussions we had in class and the ideas we broached in determining what makes rhetoric effective and how it can be tailored for specific contexts and audiences. I feel that these discussions were the most fruitful for me as a student, and I made the attempt the translate those to a high school ELA classroom setting.
The main question I seek to address is based around the deficit of knowledge on rhetoric at a high school level. Even myself, as a graduate student, realized how little I knew about rhetoric coming into this class. These lessons are so much working towards a definition of rhetoric, but as a breakdown of the type of rhetoric students, average American residents that they are, will encounter frequently in their daily lives.
I have pulled a few sources and posts from the course site for these five lessons, but my use of the site is not limited to that. There are many lessons that could be generated from the content, both from the sources themselves and the commentary provided by the members of this course. The centerpiece of the early part of this lesson is Hillary’s June 7th speech upon her acceptance as the nominee for the Democratic party. Instead of applying Aristotle’s words as the only lens for rhetoric, I employ Christina’s exploration and Sarah’s synthesis, both of which address the values found within the rhetoric of the 2016 election cycle. These posts provide a great critical lens of the content that characterized the political climate of the time. Christina’s posts takes on the reputation Hillary gained (however unfairly) and how her rhetoric both fought against that and contributed to it. Sarah’s posts also handles this topic, but with a more focused approach to Clinton’s rhetoric as well as how she has been perceived in regards to other female politicians and candidates throughout history. I created a lesson out of this idea (#2 in the pdf linked above), in which I will have students read and listen to Shirley Chisholm’s 1972 speech about her candidacy followed by Hillary Clinton’s 1995 speech at the UN 4th World Conference on Women.
The course site will be an invaluable resource for students to explore the nature of rhetoric at an unprecedented depth in a convenient location. Students will have multiple models from which they can shape their end on unit speech, plus analysis of rhetoric from multiple sources – not just the classroom instructor. I want to address some of the fundamental questions we asked ourselves at the beginning of the semester, such as: how does rhetoric resonate with the American and/or global public? Why is the language about female politicians different than about male, particularly as regards to family, feelings, and appearance? How might her downplaying or emphasizing her femininity change or impact her rhetoric?
In total, I envision this unit to be cover the following:
- Defining Rhetoric
- Fundamentals of Rhetoric
- Classical Rhetoric
- Contemporary Rhetoric
- Rhetoric in the election cycle
- Rhetoric in everyday life
- Making Rhetorical Appeals
- Ethos: Establishing credibility
- Pathos: Playing to emotions
- Logos: Building logic/shared beliefs
- Choosing a topic
- Creating a logical appeal
- Structuring argument
- Writing workshop