What are Ethos, Pathos, and Logos?

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Objective

SWBAT recall the meaning of "ethos," "pathos," and "logos."

Big Idea

... knowledge of the "rhetorical appeals" assists students with reading arguments for better understanding ...

Introduction and Context

8 minutes

Teaching the classic "rhetorical appeals" is always a bit of a devil's bargain -- that is the knowledge of the appeals is, in and of itself, essential to cultural literacy but students too often apply this knowledge in ham-fisted ways.  They frequently seemed satisfied enough with simply identifying the appeals without developing any type of understanding or analysis of their deep function.  

When I taught AP English Language the appropriate use of the appeals was a typical subject both in the classroom and in the teacher's lounge, meaning professionals would lament the lack of application of knowledge to analysis even when students were pretty good at sorting out the differences between the types of appeals.  As an analogy, this strikes me as something like recognizing that "red" means stop but failing to stop -- I can see the color but I don't apply the brakes!

Direct Instruction: What Are the "Big Three" Rhetorical Appeals?

38 minutes

In any event, I tend to just "dive right in" when I teach the concept.  I have a few highly selective references I share, and I show a youtube clip and then a short vid that I pieced together from flash video, found on the internet.

I start with two web posts: (1) a page from the Texas A&M writing center; (2) a .pdf from the College Board.  I project these two pieces on the classroom screen and gloss over them.  Students have links to these resources on the daily Slide, so I know they can return to them as needed.

Then, I show content from youtube on this topic (of which there are many videos). (FYI - just google the terms Ethos, Pathos, Logos, and you will find enough information to fill your hard drive.) Finally, I show the attached video, which is a smattering of shorter videos I have collected and "mashed" together.

After going through all of these references and resources, I generally ask each student to take a short, self-graded "open note" quiz (which I often collect as a ticket out).  I have students -- on an index card or slip of paper -- write their own definition for each of the terms: ethos, pathos, and logos.