While working with my group on the "Teaching the Genre" project, I have been reflecting about my use of persuasive text in my own classroom. Prior to this project, persuasive writing and persuasive text was the genre I knew the least about, and in turn made me the most intimidated. Prior to research, I felt that persuasive text should be used with older children, and was primarily only a part of middle and high school curriculum. Without the research findings, I felt that the art of persuasion was too advanced of a task for younger students, without realizing that persuasive writing is all around me.
The article I read for our presentation discussed persuasive writing in children, adolescents, and adults, and the changes in writing as students aged. I learned that I was correct when thinking that persuasive writing is a challenging form of communication, and not a natural form of writing or speaking. Students and adults alike must understand the problem, form an opinion based on that understanding, and most importantly understand the opposing argument. Looking back, I think that is why I felt persuasion was used for older students. With maturity comes less egocentrism which helps students understand others' views. However, I learned that there are many ways to incorporate
Nippold, Ward-Lonergan, and Fanning would agree with Tompkins about many things. They agree that persuasion is used everyday regardless of age or where one lives. Even young children use verbal persuasion to prove to their parents they should be able to stay up later. In fact, when asked to generate an example of persuasion for our presentation I was thinking to myself "How in the world am I going to find an example!". I learned quickly that I have a ton! Even last month I created a persuasive PowerPoint presentation to persuade my fiance to wear grey tuxes at our wedding :) Nippold, Ward-Lonergan, and Fanning would also agree with Tompkins that students abilities to use persuasive text develop slower than any other genre. Because young children are egocentric, and have a hard time understanding other points of view, it is hard for them to understand topic, choose a side, prove the argument, and understand the counter argument. Another agreement would be that a teacher must scaffold the use of persuasive writing in their classrooms. Prior to researching for this project, I had NO idea how I could even attempt to use persuasive writing in my own Kindergarten classroom. I knew my students could not grasp arguments and counter arguments, and understand we need examples to prove what we believe. I was anxious to even introduce it in my room because of this, and I did not want to set my students up for failure. I now understand how naive I was as an educator. My 5 year old students persuade on a daily basis. They persuade me to have more play time, to go outside for 5 more minutes, to be able to play a game with friends, to skip math all together, and many more. This is natural to them. I've learned in the past few weeks that I can use this background knowledge of natural persuasion to introduce the genre in my room.
Persuasive writing is an important skill to master since it is used in everyday text. It helps to empower individuals to make decisions at work and in society on a daily basis.Whether you are writing a cover letter for a resume, talking to a friend or family member, selling a product, or discussing which cake tastes better, persuasion is all around us!