The Art of Persuasion: Effective Arguing and Rhetoric

The Art of Persuasion: Effective Arguing and Rhetoric


About this course

Class access instructions for this course were emailed on May 30. If you did not receive an email, please contact me immediately.

Recommended Ages: This class is ideal for students ages 10-17. Class is offered in two levels. Younger academically gifted students will be accepted, but must have excellent reading, comprehension, and listening skills.

Start Date: October 1. Class runs for 8 weeks.  Students have two weeks after the last class is posted to complete the course. No live classes- do the lesson plans on YOUR schedule.

Price: $60

Space Available:

Is water wet? Is a hotdog a sandwich? If a tomato is a fruit, then is ketchup a smoothie?

Deciding which side of an argument to take and trying to persuade others to agree with your side of an argument is something everyone experiences from time to time. Now, arguing effectively so that others clearly understand your argument and are persuaded to agree with you is the true art form. Writing can be a daunting task, especially when trying to pose an argument clearly and effectively. Therefore, this fun class on the Art of Persuasion will teach students how to argue effectively through the process of proper rhetorical writing.

The aim of learning argumentative rhetoric and composition is to aid in the student’s ability to use writing as a medium for developing an argument. Throughout this class, students will learn and practice strategies to form and present an effective argument. Students will develop rhetorical knowledge, such as the ability to understand the audience, purpose, and context of an argument, and then learn appropriate essay formatting and structure to help present an objective argument.

Students will have the opportunity to form an argumentative essay. They will begin by studying the fundamentals of forming an argument and a thesis, go through the process of understanding proper rhetoric and composition, and end the class with the editing, reviewing, and revising process until the student has a finalized argumentative essay. Students will choose their topic for their paper, but these will be limited to simple, everyday arguments and situations that students might come across in their everyday lives—no political, environmental, or religious controversies.

By the end of the class, students will have learned that all writing has an intended audience, and involves a process of thinking and strategies, such as invention, prewriting, drafting, peer review, revising, and editing.

This is an academically advanced class and is not recommended for most children under 10 (but we trust that you know your child’s abilities better than we do!). Younger students 10-12 should usually be placed in Level 1. Students age 13 and up, or younger students who are academically gifted, should be placed in Level 2. Level 2 students will have more rigorous homework.

LESSON PLANS: This is an 8 week class (4 lesson plans, with a week in between each to focus on writing). Students have 2 weeks after the last class is posted to complete all work. Weekly lesson plans are posted on Tuesdays by 5pm Pacific Time. There is no “live” component to this class, which allows students to work at their own pace. This is a great option for busy students who need to work on their own schedule, and students who live all over the world and can’t easily coordinate time zones. Lessons will cover the relevant information in depth. They will be on the shorter side, as the focus of the course is on student-instructor interaction and peer-to-peer interaction.

Lesson plans are a combination of power point, graphics, video, and audio. Each slide is fully narrated for students who prefer to hear material read to them. There is no textbook for this course.

DISCUSSION:Discussions are important for peer review and interaction. They also help students work along the process with personal interaction from the instructor. Discussions will take the place of the typical Quiz grade in my courses and will build up a large portion of the final grade. We also offer an “open talk” forum where students can have fun getting to know their classmates!

ASSIGNMENTS: Assignments will be focused on building upon the student’s research topic. There are steps needed for research, and assignments are focused on those steps.

GRADES: All students will have access to our online learning system where they can view their lesson plan and assignments, take optional quizzes, access our discussion boards, submit assignments, and view instructor feedback on those assignments. You have the option of having your student’s assignments graded or not. In a given semester, you choose whether you want all or none of that student’s classes to receive grades (for example, if they are taking 3 classes, all 3 classes must be either graded or not graded). You can change the option the following semester. Graded students will be required to take the weekly quiz and will receive a number grade for their assignments in addition to feedback. They will also receive a final report card that you can print and keep for your records. Please note: All quizzes and some homework assignments that require an online “quiz” like entry will receive a grade.

TIME: In general, expect 1-1.5 hours to work through the lesson plan each week, and an additional 2-5 hours working on assignments (it really depends what assignment your child chooses to do and how they manage their time).

Week 1 & 2: What is a Rhetorical Analysis

The first weeks of the course will focus on analyzing and interpreting rhetoric to help students better understand strategies that make effective spoken and written arguments. We will learn rhetorical strategies, such as forming an argument, identifying and relating to the target audience, and presenting an effective and unbiased opinion.

Week 3 & 4: Structuring Your Argument

After forming a thesis statement for an argument it is important to understand how to present that argument with a clear structure and a logical thought process. This week will focus on organizing an effective argument. By the end of this section of the class, students will have formulated a working thesis and a general outline of their argument.

Week 5 & 6: Evidence and Analysis

Using evidence and examples from the real word is essential to forming an effective argument. During this week students will learn how to research sources and pull from real world examples, then interpret and analyze the significance of this information for the sake of the argument. Students will use their original argument along with the outline they have formed to write their argumentative essay.

Week 7 & 8: Bias and Counterpoints

The last part of the class will teach students to recognize potential biases on an issue and how to acknowledge alternate viewpoints without undercutting the original argument. The last weeks will include peer review and discussion exercises to edit and improve their argumentative essay before submitting a final completed writing assignment.


Our course begins with the first step for generating great user experiences: understanding what people do, think, say, and feel. In this module, you’ll learn how to keep an open mind while learning.

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