Rhetoric in the Elementary Classroom

As my major hints, I am very passionate about the education of young children and I love talking about what I believe should and should not be taught/said/done in an elementary classroom. That being said, I thought it would be interesting to explore the idea of rhetoric in adolescent classrooms.

From upholding the little white lies about Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy, to trying to explain why we should be nice to each other, teachers strategically practice the use of rhetoric on a daily basis. Especially at the younger ages of 5-8, children really love one word: “why?”. Because that’s true, teachers must be equipped with a minimum of two different ways of saying the same thing at all times. Whether they are trying to explain why 2+2 equals 4, or tactically answering the “where do babies come from?” question, teachers must always be mindful of what they are saying and more importantly, how they are saying it.

In my various field placements in the elementary school setting, I have already picked up on some strategies to use for various settings such as trying to draw a child’s attention back into the activity we are doing, or resolving a silly argument between two classmates and carrying on with class. The power of rhetoric is truly huge in the elementary classroom because children’s minds are sponges and they are constantly seeking to know more and understand anything and everything their teachers say. That being said, it is so crucial to use your words wisely in that setting in order to make the most of strategic and educational rhetoric.

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Rhetoric on the Streets of Italy

As funny as it may sound, I found myself thinking about rhetoric the other day while walking the streets of Florence. While doing so, I realized that rhetoric is all around in many more ways than one. One specific place I found rhetoric was in the words of the many salespeople we passed by.

Especially while walking through the leather market, we had both men and women aggressively inviting us to look around their carts or shops and buy something from them. The first part I found funny was that these salespeople would always just off-the-bat assume we spoke English. I guess we look like the Americans we are. The second part I found funny, and which relates more to rhetoric, is the fact that it was very obvious that these salespeople knew minimal English and it appeared that they were very strategic in the specific English words they learned to say. The things I heard over and over again consisted of things like: “hi pretty lady, come look in my shop”, “beautiful girl, come buy a bag”, and “you need belts?”.

I specify the common phrases not to poke fun, but to point out the trend in simple words that should be flattering and simple to those of us who speak English natively, but know better than to fall for it. The rhetoric these salespeople use is both comical and strategic because they choose very specific words to learn in English to draw those of us who do speak the language in. I think we need to applaud and give credit to these motivated workers for their “work smarter not harder” attitude towards their use of rhetoric in the bustling streets of Italy.

Rhetoric and Adolescents

We spent a good amount of time the other day talking about powerful women writers, specifically J.K. Rowling and the incredible world she created throughout her books. I may be a bit biased, but I believe J.K. Rowling has a solid understanding of rhetoric and uses it in so many strategic ways, whether we even realize it or not.

There are numerous fan websites that scrutinize every possible theme the author of the Harry Potter series could have been going for throughout each story, ranging from the issue of racism to the cliché issues that come with growing up. J.K. Rowling has an amazing talent for using her rhetoric in a way that draws millions of readers into her created world and makes them never want to leave. She shapes her story in a way that really speaks to adolescents because Harry grows up and faces many of the same challenges as any other teenagers. In this way, she knows her audience and caters her rhetoric in a way that keeps them interested. One of the first things about rhetoric I learned from the book was that it is important to know your audience and shape your language in a way that will please them and keep them engaged.

It really can’t be argued that J.K. Rowling used her power of rhetoric to create a series that is celebrated all over the world, showing just how powerful language can be.

Rhetorical Domination

We spent a good amount of time the other day talking about powerful women writers, specifically J.K. Rowling and the incredible world she created throughout her books. I may be a bit biased, but I believe J.K. Rowling has a solid understanding of rhetoric and uses it in so many strategic ways, whether we even realize it or not.

There are numerous fan websites that scrutinize every possible theme the author of the Harry Potter series could have been going for throughout each story, ranging from the issue of racism and the cliché issues that come with growing up. J.K. Rowling has an amazing talent for using her rhetoric in a way that draws millions of readers into her created world and makes them never want to leave. She shapes her story in a way that really speaks to adolescents because Harry grows up and faces many of the same challenges as any other teenagers. In this way, she knows her audience and caters her rhetoric in a way that keeps them interested. One of the first things about rhetoric I learned from the book was that it is important to know your audience and shape your language in a way that will please them and keep them engaged.

It really can’t be argued that J.K. Rowling used her power of rhetoric to create a series that is celebrated all of the world, showing just how powerful language can be.

Rhetoric Used for Evil

Within the first few chapters of our textbook, I noticed a common theme discussed regarding the fact that rhetoric can be used for both good and evil. Within today’s society, specifically in America, I connect the idea of rhetoric with negative connotations tied to today’s world of advertisement. Advertising is all about the deliberate use of language to result in a certain outcome. Although many advertisements today use images that spark emotions of lust, want, and need, many advertisements also use language in a way that sparks similar emotions. Many companies create ads using strategic language in a way that will entice potential buyers and it can be argued that using rhetoric in this way can be considered more of an evil approach than a good one. Most advertisements are using rhetoric in a way that aim to persuade the viewer or reader and make them believe they need or want the product being advertised.

The idea of ethics in rhetoric can come into play while talking about advertisements in America today. Throughout their strategic use of rhetoric in their ads, many companies can avoid mentioning the negative side effects of their drug, or the unexpected costs to come after buying their brand of car. These purposeful exclusions of information can back up the idea of rhetoric used for “evil” instead of good. Especially in the twenty first century, the world of advertising has seemingly escalated into what can be argued as being an unethical industry. The industry casts a negative light on rhetoric because of how it uses it to manipulate the public.