The Art of Persuasion

Wednesday, May 19, 2021
speeches
Class XI students and administrators listening to the persuasive speeches. 


Ms. Jorgenson and Ms. Weidner hosted a Class IX English event in Waterford's Heuston Concert Hall earlier this term. Class IX studied Julius Caesar, with a focus on the classical modes of persuasion. The students' culminating project was to work with a group to write and deliver a persuasive speech. 

This persuasive speech assignment asked students to reflect on the changes they experienced in learning during a pandemic and research how leaders in education are addressing some of these changes. Students worked together to author research-based, persuasive speeches with the Waterford School administration as their audience. 

Their project outline stating, "The events of 2020 -21 have provided us many opportunities to reflect on the way we have structured our lives, sometimes laying bare systems, habits, traditions, etc. that no longer serve us. We have been able to adapt in ways we had not felt capable of in years past. Education has been one of the systems most dramatically impacted by these events. As we emerge into a new phase of the pandemic, we have an opportunity to reimagine systems in a way that will support the lives we want to live. What kind of a society do you want to see emerge from this year of crisis? What changes do YOU think we need to make to school in order to support the kind of society we want to build?"

Students applied their lessons about rhetoric to the composition and delivery of a persuasive argument and learned to apply good habits of research to build and support an argument, all while collaborating effectively with their peers to compose the speech. Student presentations had titles such as : "From Off Task to On Track", "Reimagining Assessments", ""The Plague of Rigorous Learning", and "Prioritizing Students' Wellbeing at Waterford".

Students were composed, clear and passionate about their subject matter, often incorporating Waterford's mission and core values in meaningful ways.