English - Pride and persuasion

16th March 2012 at 00:00

What the lesson is about

"Today, children, I have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the core values of our school. I have a dream that one day all the children will go out onto the broad expanse of the playground and get along with each other. I have a dream that all the children in Y5 and the children in Y6 will one day learn to share the football pitch in a spirit of peace and fellowship. I have a dream ."

By this time, 30 hands are in the air, with every child bursting to tell me that I'm using REPETITION!

This week we have been studying persuasive writing. Or, rather, persuasive talking, because in truth it hasn't involved too much writing. What it has involved is thinking on top of the box, writes Steve Eddison.

Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech is often used when studying persuasive texts, but to get the most from it, children have to hear it performed. It is only then that they begin to appreciate the persuasive power of the words. The seductive quality of the human voice speaking passionately allows them to begin to understand the dramatic force of using repeated statements and posing rhetorical questions.

What else?

This also works when children begin making their own persuasive arguments. Oral lessons work especially well for children who find writing difficult because the process gets in the way of what they want to say. Literally and metaphorically it raises their status in class. Suddenly they are empowered with the confidence to take on the world.

Do your pupils have the persuasive skills to sway the House of Commons? Try the National Schools Partnership lesson on Speech Writing - Sustainable Fishing to find out.

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