Teachers' notes

11th May 2001 at 01:00
This is a speech which conveys its convictions powerfully. The source of its power is in large measure the craft underlying the writing, and is therefore a suitable example for students examining the nature of persuasive writing for key stage 4 English.

* The objective is to enable students to see and appreciate the rhetorical devices employed by the speech-writer. Students should work in pairs. One reads the speech aloud while the other underlines five or six particularly powerful phrases; reverse the positions and see how much coincidence there is in the selection.

* Discussion of similarities andor differences will significantly increase familiarity with th text, and begin to develop students' grasp of the ideas.

* Still in pairs they should then explore the speech looking for rhetorical questions, lists and repetition. They should between them decide the most effective examples of each and attempt to explain their effect.

* In a plenary session individuals could be asked to pick out and explain particularly clever uses of language. Discussion of the "unequal ... equally" wordplay, for example, could lead into the final activity of discussing the speaker's overall point.

Brian Winter, assistant headteacher at Richard Hale School, Hertford More speeches and teachers' notes at www.tes.co.ukelection


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