I don’t know about you, but when I was in school I remember my teachers pulling out the usual MLK speech or commercials and telling us to analyze for persuasive appeals.
In teacher prep, those same methods came out.
But those are boring. Filling out a worksheet is boring. And when I tried to teach my own students using the same tired methods I could see their eyes glazing over. There’s a time and a place for using worksheets, but introducing this topic isn’t one of them.
Clearly, I needed to figure something else out. Or else I would have to wake kids up for the entire unit.
Now, I’m not saying just throw these methods in the bin. Nope. They just needed re-purposing, some sprucing up for Gen-Z learners.
And this is what I know about Gen-Z learners. They:
- love social media
- love technology
- hate long, boring independent activities, like any adult.
So what are the 3 strategies?
Strategy 1: Put the ball in their court.
Have students conduct the research on what persuasive appeals are, what they think make a good persuasive piece, and let them teach the class. You can let students get creative, have them research how to best present the material. An added bonus of this method is you get to see what students believe the best teaching methods to be. Students often have their finger on the pulse of popular new technologies, which gives you insight on how to shape future lessons.
Strategy 2: Gallery Walks
I personally love gallery walks. They get students moving around the room, and the onus is on them to present information. You can check their speaking and listening skills. You can monitor groups to see how they cooperate. And again, you can see what their baseline is on the lesson. Some of the best moments for me are when I realize that students know a lot more about a subject than I initially thought.
Strategy 3: Collaborative Stations
I know I talk a lot about digital learning stations, but they really are amazing! They are environmentally friendly, technology forward, and easy grading for teachers. In today’s day and age of covid-19, they are also a great way to mimic in class collaboration without being in person.
Studies have shown over the years that students benefit greatly from collaborative learning, with outcomes demonstrating increased social emotional learning and development of skills that are translatable to the adult workforce. And those are win-wins to me.
When applying digital collaborative learning stations to persuasive appeals, I first look at the standards and then think about what things students need to learn about persuasive appeals: ethos, pathos, logos, point of view, and logical fallacies. These are all concepts that branch out into how to evaluate arguments, speeches, commercials, and even as an adult help determine what a credible news source is in an incredibly #FakeNews world.