In a relatively homogeneous classroom, it is necessary to utilize a variety of strategies to reach
learners. The material in the curriculum unit provides a multitude of information in which a teacher can reach in, extract information and decide which strategies would work best to convey the information at hand. My strategies would include some direct instruction (utilizing Power Point), collaborative groups for discussion and analysis, "jigsaw" readings of various speeches, debates in class and a final culminating persuasive essay that can be delivered as a speech to the class as well.
Direct instruction is a strategy often learned in education classes but often a tactic teachers are quick to shy away from because of the fear of "telling" students information rather than having them discover it themselves. In teaching about rhetoric and its history and/or teaching persuasive techniques, direct instruction can be used if the teacher involves the students. Doing K-W-L (Know, Want to Know, Learned) charts before and after a presentation, the students become involved rather than just sitting and listening.
Jigsaw activities involve students breaking out into smaller groups and performing a task (possibly an inquiry based task). After working with small groups, each of these groups chooses a speaker or presenter and conveys the findings to the entire class. Teachers can use the jigsaw technique to analyze a long speech (dividing it into sections and having groups analyze a section) or shorter speeches where each small group would have a different speech rather than analyzing parts of a larger one.
Debate and oral presentations would be a great addition to teaching persuasive writing. Students would have a chance to take something they write and actually use it as support for a debate or use it as the basis of a persuasive speech for the class. Students would not only have to consider research and support but also consider who the audience will be. Easily, the audience can literally be the class in front of the speaker; however, teachers can assign a target audience and have the class pretend to be that audience. For example, students might write a speech to try and convince the school board to include recess in the school day. Although the speech may literally be spoken to a class of 11th graders, the student would know they were being graded as though the speech were for the actual school board.
Assessment of the overall success of the unit will be ongoing. Assessment of student performance would be checking to see if students have accurate notes of rhetorical elements, importance of audience and/or logical fallacies. Students would also be assessed on their ability to work in groups while peer editing one another's pieces of writing as well as reading and discussing the importance of the selected speeches. Lastly, the students will write a persuasive essay and will consider audience, word choice and technique. Rubrics can be student or teacher generated and clearly presented before the assignment is started to give students a clear idea of what the assignment calls for.