Reflection: Connection to Prior Knowledge Students Teaching Rhetorical Strategies (6 Days) - Section 2: Day 1: Testing a Central Idea by Chris Hedges


These students did really well considering they had some rather unique circumstances—it happened that a professor from a nearby community college was observing the class, and participated in the discussion (as did I—I told the students from the beginning that I would simply be a student for each of these!).  The visitor really got into the discussion of the images, and was making a lot of historical allusions as he did.  What impressed me was that my students kept up with him—they were able to respond to all the references with ones of their own, and really kept their composure. 

In the first part of the lesson is was fun to see their peers help them out by participating and sharing their responses to the questions, even though I think they had some trouble with some of them (particularly the one asking about whether they’d seen this effect—the only response was 9/11, which was referenced in the text).  They did establish the central idea, which was good for moving forward to the next part of the lesson.  The class (including our visitor) also talked about how they wish Hedges had shared some other pieces of evidence other than his own experiences in the middle east to make the idea more accessible, noting that the audience would have to be very informed to really understand the text.  This showed some good recognition of the rhetorical situation, particularly with regard to the types of evidence that was presented (coming off of their research project, this is exciting to see them building on knowledge of types of evidence).

Here is some of one of the student’s reflections on their lesson:

Reflection on Lesson


A. I thought the discussion of the different pieces of propaganda worked well because it helped people in the class to better understand exactly what propaganda was and how it appealed to people. This discussion also helped people to understand how propaganda evolved over time as we were able to look at examples from different time periods. All of this helped people to understand that during times of war, popular culture changes and becomes a kind of propaganda machine rather than a reflection of the real likes and dislikes of the people.

Also, this was all done in a way that seemed easy to understand for everyone which helped to keep the class engaged.

B. The homework didn’t go quite as well as I’d expected it to because people didn’t understand one of the questions. If I were to change that question I’d have given a few hints leading to its answer in parentheses next to the question itself because this would help people to better understand the question while not answering it for them.


D. I learned to look at propaganda and any form of rhetoric from a number of different perspectives rather than just my own. I knew this before, but this lesson helped me to be able to better put myself in the shoes of the intended audience of a piece of rhetoric and therefore better understand its appeals. I also learned that sometimes the smallest thing in rhetoric that may seem like an accident can make a huge difference in the effect it has.


I particularly like what he wrote in the last part about how much he learned—that was encouraging for me looking forward to use this activity again!  Choosing these two students to go first was strategic, though; they are very fastidious in their work and both are strong speakers, so I felt confident they would provide a strong model for the other students to follow—I think this is an important thing to consider when doing presentations like this, since students to follow what their peers do, particularly if I as a teacher give positive feedback.

  Strong Start to Activity
  Connection to Prior Knowledge: Strong Start to Activity
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Students Teaching Rhetorical Strategies (6 Days)

Unit 12: Rhetorical Review: Politics and the Environment
Lesson 5 of 5

Objective: SWBAT recognize a key rhetorical strategy utilized by an author by preparing a lesson on the particular strategy and teaching it to their peers.

Big Idea: A great way to deeply learn a topic is to prepare to teach it. . . and then teach it.

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