For the first unit of ENGL 250, Rhetorical Analysis, Shaya Kraut has composed a lesson plan meant to build skills and tactics for students as they learn to recognize rhetorical strategies in materials such as biographies, magazine articles, and TED Talks. The lesson plan works to address the goals of ENGL 250, which include: “to develop skills in written, oral, visual, and electronic communication… As a result, you should become, not only a more perceptive consumer of information, but also a communicator better able to make effective decisions in your own academic life and work.” Ideally, students will have discussed and done exercises to practice applying the rhetorical situation and the three appeals (ethos, pathos, logos).
For this activity, instructors should provide a piece of material for their students to rhetorically analyze: this may be an article, a speech, or a TED Talk. Consider selecting a source that would be of equal length to what students will select for their own projects. In addition to the selected text, students should do some research of their own to understand the rhetorical situation of the text (examples provided in the attached PDF). Students should engage with the material prior to class and write a short response or submit notes to prepare for discussion.
During class time, instructors should divide the class into groups, with each group focusing on rhetorical strategies in distinct sections of the material (for example, analyzing introductions, conclusions, or specific uses of pathos, logos, and ethos). Paragraph-length sections of the text may be printed out and given to each group as additional direction. After discussing with their peers, groups will report to the whole class about the specific rhetorical strategies of their assigned sections; this discussion may also include discussion of content interpretation, but should be reinforced by rhetorical analysis.
For homework, instructors may assign a paragraph reflection on the activity, what they learned about rhetorical strategies through targeted analysis and group discussion, and articles they may be considering for their own rhetorical analysis assignment.