The Role of Persuasion in Global Politics: The United Nations and Millennium Development Goals

byDeborah M. Fetzer


How should we conceptualize global politics? I suggest global politics may have been born at the turn of the 21 st century in the form of the Millennium Development Goals and that the United Nations was the attending mid-wife. I further submit that we, the people of the world, stand at the gate of a vast global transformation. And, as we move forward, we do so, not without a clue as to what lies ahead of us, but with a roadmap written from our rich family history dating back to classical times during which artful fathers would help all citizens navigate through the day to day struggles of life within a democratic community. Additionally, I suggest there may be future fathers born from the Millennium Declaration who will help lead all the future people of the world in a renewed grassroots movement of global democracy. All people will be connected, united and active citizens in that global community, which is now growing and being defined by the rhetoric and action evolving from the Millennium Development Goals.

Today's world grows more and more complex, and this complexity is the result of changes that have occurred over time, over centuries, and now over millennia. One theme in the study of world history involves the idea of continuity and change. There are certain patterns or trends that re-occur through history, thus studying areas or societies from early to modern days, through the lens of what remains the same and what changes, may provide insights into the current complexities and circumstances in which world-wide societies find themselves today. I am hopeful that this study may help my students, as world citizens, to understand current global issues.


The Role of Persuasion in Global Politics Unit was written for the world history course at Cab Calloway School of the Arts; although, it could easily be adapted for a U.S. history as well as an English or language arts class for students in middle school and high school. Most of the students taking world history are 10 th graders. The world history curriculum in my school district covers the 1400s to the present day. My teaching experience has taught me that when students are challenged by current events, concepts, and ideologies coupled with hands-on simulations, they are more motivated to become actively engaged in learning. In addition, my students want to be connected to the world in ways beyond their computers. They want to do something constructive with their time; they want to be involved in current global issues. This presents a challenge for me as in my district there is now a curriculum map that teachers are to follow. My thought is to start with the last chapters of our textbook, teach about the current situation in that area of the world, and then, using the text as a resource, cover the previous chapters in the text that deal with the history of that area starting with the 1400s. As my students learn about the history in each area, they can trace the development of those societies over time with attention to patterns or trends that have led to the current status and conditions of that society. This approach will allow me to follow the curriculum map as well as to address one of the overarching goals of the Delaware Recommended Curriculum (DRC), which is that students will study the ways in which individuals and societies have changed and interacted over time. The study of history empowers us to make reasonable decisions about the issues currently facing us and to give us a heightened awareness of potential consequences of those decisions. In essence, we are preparing to become informed global citizens.

This unit focuses on developing countries, what used to be called Third World countries 1 , the establishment and mission of the United Nations (UN), over 60 years ago now, and more specifically on the UN's current role and responsibility to developing nations around the globe as elaborated in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of 2000. My students will assume the identity of a developing country; they will research that country's current strengths and weaknesses as well as its history in order to discern re-occurring patterns and/or trends or changes throughout its history that might have contributed to the situation in which they find their country today. Additionally, they will explore the use of persuasion in the global political community. The unit transfer task, 2 which is one form of a summative assessment, for my students will be the delivery of an originally created speech persuading an audience of their choosing to provide necessary assistance in order for their country to meet one or more the MDGs by 2015.


The objectives for this unit are closely aligned with Delaware state standards in social studies, particularly within the strands of history and economics. The objectives will focus on primary sources, continuity and change, and rhetoric.

Students will understand the importance of primary sources. Primary sources are the same as original sources. Primary sources include a person with direct knowledge of a situation or a document created by such a person. Primary sources may include, but are not limited to diary entries, letters, newspaper articles, photographs, and political cartoons. The students will be able to analyze primary sources. Critical examination of historical materials requires logical analysis, an appreciation of context, and an understanding of the principles of evidence to trace the development of societies over a prolonged period of time in order to explain patterns of continuity and change. Thus historical inquiry is not limited to the study of specific events, but may also focus on ideas or trends, which extend across space and time. It is through asking questions that our comprehension of what we read becomes deeper or clearer. Inquiry and analysis is a key to thinking, learning, and solving problems. Thus students will investigate and analyze primary sources associated with standard of living and human rights issues in developing countries.

Through study and research students will understand that past events and conditions do have an impact on present and even future events and conditions. Students will be able to determine cause and effect scenarios and make predictions about future scenarios. Researching and analyzing historical materials, both primary and secondary sources, afford students the opportunity to understand what causes some things to remain in tact and some things to change. Thus the second objective for this unit calls for students to understand key causes for and possible political impacts (effects) of the MDGs on people in developing countries, which may or may not result in change.

Students will understand at least one way that change happens. The power of words should not be underestimated in effecting change, especially political change. Rhetoric has the potential to yield successful change. One advantage of teaching an art of rhetoric as a tool of effective communication may help students understand the power of language and words to move others to action. With this understanding, students may be more motivated to learn about the history of their particular country as well as their audience. They can then use that knowledge of the history and traditions of a country's culture in a more critical way as they craft their persuasive speeches. The third objective for this unit requires students to recognize and understand the power of words and images. A speaker must be credible to her audience by behaving decently, demonstrating practical judgment, and emitting goodwill. The speaker analyzes her audience and knows that she can influence them by knowing their values, beliefs, and experiences. The speaker prepares an argument by using accurate data, providing evidence, and leading the audience to make inferences or decisions in her favor. Thus students will make the connection between the speaker, the audience, and the message by applying Aristotle's concepts of ethos, pathos, and logos (see below) to write a purposeful, persuasive appeal to bring about global political change.


Rhetoric 3

Rhetoric is the artful use of language in order to get something for yourself or to persuade someone else to do something.


Aristotle, a Greek philosopher who studied under Plato, wrote and spoke about the art of persuasion in such a clear and meaningful way that even today, in the 21 st century, his instruction on using language effectively and persuasively remains the authority. One of the first things that a rhetorician must do is analyze the situation, the context in which she will be writing and speaking. The speaker must know the audience. She must know if the audience is composed of single-minded people or people who hold conflicting beliefs and values. My mother once told me that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. A rhetorician must think about this adage as she begins to craft a speech. Another part of the context to be considered is kairos, the Greek word for timing and setting. The speaker must consider the audience's readiness to hear what she wants to say. In other words, is the audience able to be persuaded? The mood of the times may influence what one might say and when it might be said. The speaker must select words, phrases, and images (medium) appropriate to the occasion. Time is important in another way when crafting a speech. That scheme is one of past, present, and future. Aristotle suggests that speeches that center on justice are judicial or forensic in nature and refer to the past, speeches that center on honor or shame or on trying to unite or divide are epideictic and focus on the present, and speeches that are advantageous are deliberative and look to the future. Another way to view the three time frames is to consider the past having to do with law and order, the present having to do with values, and the future having to do with choices. The speaker must think about which argument, past, present, or future, is most relevant for the purpose of the speech.

Aristotle further identified three appeals to reason that help to effectively persuade the audience. They are ethos, logos, and pathos. Ethos is the way that the speaker makes herself appear credible or virtuous to the audience. The speaker's character is important in order to win over the audience; she must seem ethical or decent. An anecdote is one tactic to demonstrate her decency to the audience. Telling a story in which it is clear that the speaker values the same things or shares the same norms as the audience may cement a connection, making the audience more likely to listen intently and be persuaded. Speaking about relevant accomplishments and experiences may demonstrate to an audience that the speaker is capable of practical judgment or common sense. Additionally, the speaker can assure the audience that it is their welfare that is of paramount importance, even more than that of the speaker's. When the idea that the speaker's wants are the same as the audience's is realized, a sense of selfless good will toward the audience prevails and increases the odds that the audience will be persuaded. Thus it is important for the speaker to find the common ground on which she and the audience stand.

Related to finding common ground, the speaker should be able to understand the emotional composition of the audience. Aristotle called this awareness pathos, which refers to how the speaker wants the audience to feel by the end of the speech. The speaker can address and stir emotions of happiness, sadness, playfulness, fear, anger, and more. It is important for the speaker to keep in mind the result she wants at the end of the speech. Specific words may be selected that connote specific feelings, which in turn elicit certain actions. By making the audience feel confident or hopeful of success, they may be moved to physically participate or to give a larger amount of money to a cause.

Aristotle's third kind of proof is logos, the appeal to logic. The speaker makes an argument by offering data, statistics, and facts related to the topic of the speech in such a way as to allow the audience to use inductive or deductive reasoning to draw conclusions and make inferences in the speaker's favor. The speaker crafts her own text so that the argument is supported with details carefully selected so as to offer evidence of the truth of the argument or worthiness of the request. The thesis is well organized, skillfully written and carefully proofread. Each appeal to reason is equally important when crafting a persuasive speech, and the speaker must take care to create a balance between ethos, pathos, and logos. Too much of one appeal may backfire and leave the audience unconvinced or bored.


Another artful rhetorician was Cicero, who set forth a 5 step process of the craft of persuasion, which embeds the three appeals to reason (ethos, pathos, and logos). These steps form a 'how to write a persuasive speech' set of instructions. The steps are: 1) invention, 2) arrangement, 3) style, 4) memory, and 5) delivery. 4 Heinrichs suggests that Cicero insisted that the order matters when crafting a speech. The speaker must first invent what to say. In other words what does she really want? What is the goal? This is time for the speaker to brainstorm ideas. Additionally, Cicero considered the opposite side or the opponent's point of view when in the invention stage. If the speaker can mentally engage in a mock debate, she may be able to better focus on the argument. When in the invention stage, the speaker must determine the audience's values. Speakers who know their audience will be able to add details and examples into the argument that may appeal to the audience's ethos, pathos and/or logos.

The arrangement of the speech is the next stage and while the speaker has control of this, an accepted arrangement establishes ethos first, then logos, then pathos. Heinrichs suggests a student friendly model of arrangement that can be completed in less than fifteen minutes. The structure of the model starts with an introduction during which time the speaker quickly establishes her ethos. Next, is the narration during which the speaker presents briefly and believably any necessary history, or facts and figures about the topic. The third part is the division, which is a listing of ideas with which the speaker and the opposition agree and disagree. Next, is the proof, which is the logos part of the speech; the speaker explicitly sets forth the argument supported with examples and details. Another part of the arrangement model is the refutation or when the speaker destroys the opponent's arguments. The conclusion, which is the pathos appeal, is the time to rouse emotions and restate the best points. 5

Rhetorical style is all about the audience and the speaker's ability to fit in with them. 6 Heinrichs organizes the classical virtues of style in a clear and easy to understand way. The first virtue is proper language, which means the speaker must choose words appropriate for the audience and the occasion. So, if the speaker is writing a letter to her cousin Vinnie, the language contained in that letter would be quite different from the language used if she were addressing the General Assembly of the UN. The second virtue of style is clarity, which means the speaker must use language that is part of the audience's world. Do not speak above or below them. The speaker should be clear, direct, and to the point. The third virtue is vividness, which means the speaker must make her argument come alive for the audience. Tell the story so that it is easy for the audience to visualize what is occurring and consequently be more persuaded to yield to the speaker's goal. The fourth virtue is decorum, which means the speaker must find a way to relate to the audience, to fit into their world in smooth and seamless way. The audience must be persuaded to believe and accept that they and the speaker share the same values. The fifth virtue is ornament, which means the speaker selects words in such a way as to make them pleasing to the ear of the audience. It is about the flow and rhythm of the speaker's voice. In addition, ornament includes the cleverness of the assembly of the words. A good example of ornament was when John F. Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." 7

The fourth step in preparing a persuasive argument is memory. The speaker can invent ways to remember a variety of arguments. The brain learns by associations, so if the speaker wants to talk about clean drinking water, she can create a picture of a child happily jumping around in the rain while trying to catch the pure raindrops in his mouth. There are a variety of rhetorical mnemonics the speaker might employ. Today the use of visuals may serve this purpose such as a Power Point or Glogster 8 presentation.

Once the speaker has completed steps one to four, she is ready for the final delivery of the speech. The speaker must successfully transform into an actor, a sincere and convincing actor. The delivery of a speech involves rhetorical gestures or body language. The speaker must be cognizant of matching her words to her body movements. Are the hand gestures distracting or truly embellishing the words? Are gestures needed or would it just be better to stand tall and lean toward the audience just a bit? Does the head move at appropriate times during the speech? Does the facial expression work? Cicero said that the eyes are the window to the soul. The speaker should not only use eye contact but also make her eyes speak to the audience with expression and sincerity. Voice control is another component of delivery. The speaker must know the appropriate times to adjust the volume of her voice, but always be aware of the projection of her voice. Can everyone in the audience hear her words? The speaker must have the endurance needed to sustain her voice throughout the entire speech, especially if it is a rather long speech. Another skill with voice control involves tone. The speaker must know what tone of voice the speech should have and when it is appropriate to change the tone of voice. For instance, in the introduction of a speech, her voice may sound lighthearted or jovial, but later in the speech it may be necessary to change the tone to represent a more dignified or somber situation. Cicero was well aware of the use of rhetoric and how to create a persuasive speech, but my task is how do I help my students own that knowledge?

My Students

As part of my world history class, my students will have already assumed the identity of a citizen in a developing country in the southern hemisphere. They will have done research about their selected country's people, culture, conditions, and other information, and they will have recorded their research in their journals. I will interactively use their journals to help build the necessary understanding of kairos, audience, ethos, logos, and pathos of the people from their selected country. I will ask questions and make comments to guide my students' awareness of how to use what they know about rhetoric as they craft their final persuasive speech for this unit. For instance, to build the ethos or character in their speech will require them to know about the past events, cultural traditions and norms of the citizens of their selected country. Questions around these ideas will help students to learn the history and discern trends, patterns, or changes that may provide insight that could be elaborated in a speech. To capture the kairos effectively in their speech, I will ask questions of them about the current events in their country. Helping my students to delve deeper into the history and traditions of a country will help them establish a sense of passion about who the people of their country are and exactly what they might need with respect to the humanitarian rights that are listed in the United Nations's MDGs.

United Nations

The United Nations (UN) was established after the Second World War in 1945, more than sixty years ago. Importance was placed on the overarching purposes for this world-wide organization probably because in the previous several decades the world experienced two world wars, a depression and a failed League of Nations. The UN purposes were and still are established to: 1) maintain international peace and security, 2) develop friendly relationships among nations with respect to equal rights and self-determination, 3) achieve international cooperation when solving economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian problems with an emphasis on human rights and the fundamental freedom of all regardless of race, sex, language or religion, and 4) be the center through which all of these goals are attained. 9 In an effort to fulfill its purposes the UN system was divided into six basic branches: 1) the Trusteeship Council, 2) Security Council, 3) General Assembly, 4) Economic and Social Council, 5) International Court of Justice, and 6) the Secretariat. 10 The purposes and organizing structure remain the same today in 2010.

In the early years of the UN it was evident that a major focus of the institution was on the idea of keeping peace in the world and preventing "succeeding generations from the scourge of war." 11 This concern for peace is still a main focus of the UN but for the purposes of this unit of study, my emphasis will be on "fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and … to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom." 12 These are direct words from the preamble of the UN and today they are particularly relevant with regard to developing countries.

Developing Countries

Developing countries are typically those countries whose citizens have a low level of material necessities or experience a low standard of living. According to the Millennium Project Task Force on Poverty and Economic Development, there are three categories of human poverty: 1) income poverty, 2) social service poverty, and 3) environmental poverty. 13 Generally, the developing countries are in the southern hemisphere while the developed countries, the more industrialized countries, are in the northern hemisphere. The developing countries are broken down into regional groupings based on UN geographical divisions. 14 The developing regions include Northern Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South-Eastern Asia, Oceania, Eastern Asia, Southern Asia, Western Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. There is a sort of irony in these developing regions that does not always make the news. There are good things happening from development projects, but there are also unintentional consequences that are adversely affecting a lot of poor people. These poor people are often referred to as living at the margins of society, and are also referred to as being marginalized. Maggie Black wrote about such situations as she reported that about 10 million people a year become displaced from their homes due to development projects such as constructions of dams or urban transportation systems. 15 She claims that about 12 million refugees are displaced every year by wars or disasters. 16 Refugees may someday return to their home, but those who lost their home through development projects will remain homeless. Consequences such as these just exacerbate their level of poverty. Another consequence of the huge development projects is that extra monies, which governments may earn, must be spent repaying creditors from the development projects instead of on education, health, empowerment, or basic services that the poor really need. However, there is recent evidence that attention is currently focused on sustainable development as it was the topic of The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002. 17 "The term sustainable development as originally defined by the 1987 World Commission on Environment and development… was meant to entail 'development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'." 18 Many organizations are consciously working together to solve problems and address the Millennium Declaration Goals. As an example, global action is focused on protecting the environment and fighting poverty at the same time and with a more careful eye to the impact on the people in developing countries. Another trend seems to be a stronger emphasis on local issues that will have more immediate benefits for the people of developing countries, for instance helping to attain household energy, clean water, and sanitation. 19 Some historical patterns change but some still remain the same.

Throughout the UN's existence there has run a theme of continuity and change. One foundational characteristic that has remained the same over the sixty plus years is that individual sovereign states/nations continue to be in charge of decision-making as it pertains to internal and world politics. 20 Thus the UN has had little to no global governmental authority to enforce human rights policies within states. However, over the years there have been changes with regard to objectives and challenges specifically aligned to address changing global needs from the cold war era to the post-cold war era and currently to the period of post 9/11. 21 Today some states have problems that not only negatively impact their citizens, but also which are so large in scope that they are well beyond the means of individual states to solve on their own. Problems continue to grow and are often exacerbated by armed conflict in and between states. International assistance will be necessary to help address those huge problems most of which involve issues such as extreme poverty and hunger, environmental degradation, women's rights, and AIDS, just to name a few. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's words also illustrate the theme of continuity and change as he stated,

The spirit and vision that infused world leaders in 1945 inspire me every day. … The promise and values of those early years in the UN's history are as relevant today in our considerably more complex and independent world as they were over sixty years ago. That is why we speak of the importance of 'renewed multilateralism'. In today's environment of global challenges – challenges that do not respect borders, and which no country, rich or poor, weak or powerful, can resolve on it own – the UN can thrive. 22

Therefore, this unit will focus more closely on the UN in the 21 st century and its policies and actions in dealing with human development and quality of life in developing countries. My students will learn about the UN's Millennium Development Goals created in 2000, add that understanding to their increased knowledge through research about specific developing countries, and then write a persuasive appeal for assistance from a specific audience, which might be a Non-government Organization (NGO), the UN General Assembly, or another audience of the student's choosing.

Millennium Development Goals

The UN held a Millennium Summit in 2000 during which 147 heads of state assembled and adopted Millennium Development Goals (MDG). The UN wants the goals to be reached by 2015. The MDGs are: 1) reduce extreme poverty and hunger by half relative to 1990, 2) achieve universal primary education, 3) promote gender equality and empowerment of women, 4) reduce child mortality by two-thirds relative to 1990, 5) improve maternal health, including reducing maternal mortality by three-quarters relative to 1990, 6) prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, 7) ensure environmental stability, and 8) develop a global partnership for development. 23 These eight goals provide a framework on which NGOs and developed countries can focus financial and other support to developing countries in order to achieve the MDGs. The idea is that the developed countries will help the developing countries make steady progression toward the attainment of the goals. As noted above, the UN does not have the power to make the MDGs legally binding and often the leaders in power ignore the millennium declaration. The lack of effective local governance can also be a weakness with respect to real aid getting to the correct destinations. There are numerous UN conferences and commissions concerned with development as well as numerous NGOs. The overarching purpose of the MDGs is to set a strategic vision for the UN to help developing countries achieve more success in areas where previous efforts have been too slow or have failed altogether. 24

Five years after the initial MDGs were written, the Millennium Project was initiated by then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in order to establish a plan to help achieve the MDGs in all targeted countries especially those counties who were not making adequate progress. The plan consisted of strategies and means of implementation to reach each goal. In addition, the Project also worked with specific governments and international agencies to help at the grass roots level. 25 Some feel that the MDGs do not ask enough because of the target of decreasing poverty by only one half. The question is raised about the other half of the world's poor remaining in extreme poverty. Is that fair? If the goals are not met by 2015, some argue that disillusionment will settle in rendering the UN even more ineffective. But Philip Alston says the MDGs represent a strength of the UN; they represent a "quest to achieve what has not been achieved before" 26 and to see results by a concerned commitment at all levels of a global community toward improved standard of living for all. This energized commitment toward reaching the MDGs is demonstrated by the results of the Millennium Villages in Africa.

Millennium Villages

Extreme poverty is a critical problem in Africa, which globally is the area that accounts for the largest proportion of people living in poverty with "more than 40 percent or roughly 300 million people living on less than a $1 a day." 27 Many rural communities are stuck in what is referred to as poverty traps. Poverty traps are like a catch-22 thus it is very difficult to make any real progress toward getting out of poverty because the people in Africa face so many challenges with respect to disease, health issues, poor growing fields, geography and difficulty transporting water and other things just to name a few. It is like that old adage sometimes used to describe the improbability of making progress: I take one step forward but two steps backward. For instance, it is reported that a child in Africa dies from malaria every 30 seconds, or many people must walk several miles daily to bring drinking and cooking water back to their homes. 28

However, the Millennium Villages Project has given people hope and has made real progress by empowering the local citizens with science-based interventions. Project personnel are working directly with the people in the villages. For the past five years, since 2005, the Project staff has been able to provide simple solutions to problems such as high-yield seeds and fertilizers to help increase crop production in previously low producing growing fields, medicines to reduce the incidences of malaria, and building material for schools which also provide food to the children. This grassroots community-led approach has proven successful not only in the daily lives of citizens but also in the hard work of building capacity which is needed to continue progress and which makes the MDGs seem reachable and sustainable.

Recently, in New York on June 23, 2010 a press release informed the public that Tommy Hilfiger was named the Millenniums Promise's first MDG leader. His role will be to engage and encourage others to join the grass roots movement to end extreme poverty. He has dedicated his Corporate Foundation's support with a commitment of time and money; $2 million and a five-year plan to build sustainable communities. Tommy Hilfiger could be one audience that my students might try to persuade, or my students might try to persuade members of the general assembly or a NGO. Regardless of the audience, my students must also decide upon their role, who they will be when writing and the topic, what they want to get for their country. I will use many strategies to guide my students toward their transfer task, their persuasive speech.


The strategies employed for building background as well as interpreting and extending understanding in this unit include research, interactive journal writing, mind streaming, discussion web, the Frayer model, analysis of primary sources, RAFTS, and oral presentations.

Interactive Journal

The interactive journal is a way for my students to receive feedback on their research. I will read and make comments or ask questions on their notes about the developing country they have selected to research. Other students will be able to respond in the research journals as well. In addition to the hard copy journal, my students will be required to participate in the discussion threads on my world history wikispace. My hope is that as they read and respond to the comments and questions from both their classmates and me, they will be able to dive deeper into their own thinking and perhaps begin to build fodder for their persuasive speeches. My students will begin to understand how to build ethos, logos, and pathos into their unique persuasive speeches.

Mind streaming

Mind streaming 29 is an easy way to activate prior knowledge or build background for students. Students work with a partner, each decides if they are partner A or partner B. The teacher provides a topic or idea about which the students will talk about and/or actively listen. Partner A will talk for one minute on the topic. He/she must keep talking for one minute, if they run out of ideas, then they can repeat what they have already said. Partner B in the meantime may not talk, but rather must encourage their partner with nonverbal clues. I usually do a "T" 30 chart before this activity to set the ground rules and my expectations for student behavior. Another helpful tip is to make mind streaming a component of Think-Pair-Share where students talk after they have written what they think they know. You know your students best, use your teacher judgment; sometimes writing helps, sometimes writing is too much. At the beginning of this unit, students will talk about everything they know (or think they know) about rhetoric. Double check to make sure that all the students know who is "A" and who is "B" and who will be talking first. Say, "go", and time them for one minute. Because of this topic, rhetoric, I will have my students talk for one-half minute. If students run out of things to say, they can and must repeat what they have already said. In other words, they must keep talking until you say stop talking. You can be the judge, if one minute is just too long for your students, adjust the time. When time is up, partner B talks and partner A encourages and listens. You know your students. If one minute is too long, you can have partners talk for 30 seconds. Next, it is necessary for you, as the teacher, to debrief with the class. Ask what they know about rhetoric and write the information on the board, overhead transparency, or chart paper. It is important that you monitor what they think they know so that you can correct any misunderstanding and inaccurate information they have provided. Record what your students say, but introduce the concept of questioning here. If you or one of your students questions a piece of information, put a question mark next to the information in question. Say to students, "Questioning is what good readers do all the time." Tell students that when they read and study in this unit, they now have at least one purpose - to confirm or reject the accuracy of the information in question. I might use this technique often throughout the unit. For example, I could use mind streaming for concepts of developing countries, extreme poverty or the United Nations. Use this strategy when and where you think it will be effective.

Discussion Web

In class discussions we want all students to be engaged, not just a few, but it has been my experience that often a majority of the class is willing to sit back and let that few do all the talking. The discussion web 31 is a great strategy to involve all the students in discussion basically at the same time. This strategy must be done often, like a lot of strategies, so that the students get comfortable with the kind of talking that is essential in this strategy. You can make a template for the students or have them make their own discussion web. Before students use a discussion web independently, you must model as a whole class discussion. Use an overhead, the board, or chart paper. In the center of the overhead transparency or a piece of paper place a controversial and/or familiar topic/question, one that students will talk about. For this unit it might be: Should developed (rich) countries give money to developing (poor) countries? The students brainstorm opposing arguments. Encourage students to take sides against their personal views. During modeling, you should write their ideas in two columns, on the left-hand side of the paper write all the 'pro' ideas and on the right-hand side of the paper write all the 'con' ideas. Develop conclusions for both sides of the argument. Next, have students work in pairs to decide which conclusion seems more valid. Then as a class come to consensus. After students understand the discussion web process, they might work in pairs using a discussion web with reading selections or speeches that contain opposing viewpoints. After students have itemized support for both points of view, the pairs will join with another pair forming squares. Students will work in this small group of four to develop several conclusions or one conclusion that they think is most reasonable. Then each group selects one conclusion to present to the whole class. They must explain the reasoning that led them to the conclusion. Students can then use their discussion web to write an analytic essay. For this unit I will use the discussion web to help students identify a speaker's use of ethos, logos, and pathos in their speech.

The Frayer Model

Vocabulary and concept development is very important to comprehension. Students need ways to manipulate ideas that are related in a variety ways to the vocabulary they encounter in their learning. The Frayer Model 32 is a graphic organizer that is simply divided into quadrants, you can provide a template for your students or they can just fold a piece of paper into fourths. In each quadrant place one of the following headings: essential characteristics, non-essential characteristics, examples, and non-examples. The Frayer model strategy helps students to explore a concept more critically, more deeply and differentiate terms and information that are intimately associated with the concept from those that are only marginally associated. Just as with any other strategy, if it is the students first time with the strategy model with the whole class. The Frayer Model may be helpful before, during and after instruction as a pre-reading activity, as a formative assessment, or as a review or summative assessment, respectively. In this unit I may use the Frayer Model for the concept of 'rhetoric'. Further I might also use it as a way for students to analyze other as well as their own speeches, but I will change the number of blocks to six and the headings to ethos, logos, pathos, and examples of each. I am sure you may be able to use the Frayer Model in a number of different ways, after all, you know your students better than any one else.

Analysis of primary sources

My students will have practice analyzing actual speeches that politicians from around the world have given. I am starting my world history course with Latin America from 1945 to the Present, so I will provide my students with speeches delivered by both Juan Peron and his wife, Eva Person. My students will analyze them for the presence of Aristotle's criteria of ethos, logos, and pathos. By using a discussion web, students can compare the two Perons as to who had the better skill with respect to incorporating ethos, logos, and pathos into their speeches.


Writing is commitment on paper. Many times students think they understand something until they must write to explain it. The RAFTS 33 (Role-Audience-Format-Topic-Strong Verb) strategy scaffolds the writing process for students by providing a purpose and structure for their writing. Students are to assume a role, which requires that they place themselves in another's shoes. Next they are given a certain audience to whom they must write. As they write they must sustain their attention on this audience. The format provided, such as an editorial or eulogy, requires students to be critically thinking about their word choice and purpose for writing. Finally they must stay focused on the topic. Often students' writing will drift from what they really want to say causing their writing to lose coherence, lack organization, and stray off topic. One example for a RAFTS might be as follows: the Role is Woodrow Wilson, the Audience is those gathered to form the United Nations, the Format is a speech, and the Topic and Strong Verb are to give advice on why it is so critical that United Nations succeed where the League of Nations failed.

Oral Presentation

Students will actually give their final persuasive speech to their classmates who will be in the role of a country in the General Assembly of the UN or on the board of directors of an NGO. The teacher can design a rubric so that students know what they should include in their presentation and how they should act during their presentation. I often have other students in the class complete some form of rubric assessment for the student who is performing. This evaluation helps the other students to be an actively engaged audience.


Activities are a way to engage students in social learning. They allow for instructional conversations to occur in the classroom. They allow for movement, which brain research tells us is important in the learning process. The activities in this unit spring from the above mentioned strategies. My students will activate their prior knowledge or build background, assimilate new information about rhetoric, the UN, the MDGs, and articulate a way these three concepts integrate into global politics. Additionally, my students will have already been assigned a country in the southern hemisphere to research and discern current issues and concerns that currently face the people in that country. You may want to consider assigning your students a way to learn all about a country and its people so that they will be better able to build the ethos, logos, and pathos of a particular country and determine a potential audience into their final persuasive speeches for this unit.

Lesson 1- "Rhetoric"

The purpose of this lesson is to build background on rhetoric and how it is used in modern politics.

Activity One - Mind Streaming

Activity one is mind streaming. Students will work with a partner for the mind streaming activity. You can decide how the partners will be selected. Once in partners, the two students will decide who is an "A" and who is a "B." The "A"s will talk first, for one-half minute about a topic assigned by the teacher while the "B"s are actively listening to and encouraging their partner, but they must remain silent. After the "A"s talk then students switch roles and the "B"s talk while the "A"s listen and encourage.

Ask the "A"s to talk about everything they know about 'ancient rhetoric, Greek and/or Roman philosophers, and/or civilizations for one-half minute. Check to determine if all students know who will talk first, tell them to go and time them. Then repeat the process with the "B"s.

Debrief students' prior knowledge by asking for volunteers to tell you and the class what they know about this topic. Record their ideas on chart paper, the board, or an overhead projector. Record everything but remember to mark any inaccurate information with a question mark and come back to this later to either confirm or revise the idea. As you talk about this background, tell students that in this unit they will study the role of rhetoric in today's global politics and international communications. After recording and discussing all the students' ideas, you will want to give more information from the rhetoric content section above. You can decide what and how to provide the rhetoric information needed for the remainder of the unit.

Activity Two - Analyzing Primary Sources - (Two Speeches)

I will model with my students how to analyze a speech with regard to identifying ethos, logos, and pathos as well as audience. The first speech we will analyze was given on August 20, 1948 by Juan Peron entitled "What is Peronism?" My students will have already studied Latin America from 1945 to the present so they will have the background to understand Argentina during this time. You can use the same speeches that I refer to or you can find your own depending on your classroom context. While we will focus our discussion on the above criteria, we will pay close attention to logos in the speech as it is easy to determine the ethos and pathos but not so easy to determine the logos in Juan Person's speech. You can see the teacher resources for a persuasive rubric that may guide your modeling and discussion.

Next, my students will work in pairs to read and analyze Eva Peron's speech given in 1949 entitled "My Labor in the Field of Social Aid." Students will be analyzing how she was able to build the ethos, logos, and pathos for her audience in her speech, and they will be able to determine if they think Eva Person's speech is effective. Students will be reminded that the transfer task for them will be to write an effective persuasive speech using the tools of rhetoric. Thus this information should be stored in notebooks for later use.

Activity Three - Discussion Web

After students analyzed both Juan and Eva Peron's speeches, my students will use discussion webs to come to a consensus regarding the use of ethos, pathos, and logos. I will model, do a guided practice, and then allow the students to complete the discussion web, following the directions explained in the strategies section mentioned above. This discussion web will give students practice for a future discussion web about the responsibility that rich, developed countries have to poor, undeveloped countries. A discussion web will be used later in this unit.

The statements that students will discuss are: Juan Peron's speech illustrated a better use of ethos than Eva Person's speech; Juan Peron's speech illustrated a better use of pathos than Eva Person's speech; Juan Peron's speech illustrated a better use of logos than Eva Person's speech. Students will brainstorm opposing arguments, both pro and con, and develop conclusions on both sides. In pairs, students will decide which conclusion seems more valid. As closure for this activity students will discuss the following questions: "How did this strategy help you to analyze both sides of an issue? Were you able to take a more active role in the discussion? Did the discussion web help you organize your discussion?"

Lesson 2 - "The United Nations and the Millennium Development Goals"

The purpose of this lesson is build background on the United Nations and to introduce the Millennium Development Goals to my students. Activity one and two will build a knowledge base of the UN and other vocabulary words that they have thus far been exposed to during this unit. It is necessary to provide information, which is found in the content section of this unit, on the Millennium Declaration Goals to my students. In activity three, the students will analyze a speech that the current Secretary of the UN gave regarding the MDGs.

Activity One - Mind Streaming

Activity one for lesson two is mind streaming. Using this strategy again is a good technique because when students are familiar with a strategy, they get even more from it. Students will work with a partner for the mind streaming activity. You can decide how the partners will be selected. Once in partners, the two students will decide who is an "A" and who is a "B." The "A"s will talk first, for one minute about everything they know about the United Nations. Check to determine if all students know who will talk first, tell them to go and time them. Then repeat the process with the "B"s.

Debrief students' prior knowledge by asking for volunteers to tell you and the class what they know about this topic. Record their ideas on chart paper, the board, or an overhead projector. Record everything but remember to mark any inaccurate information with a question mark and come back to this later to either confirm or revise the idea. As you talk about this background, tell students that in this unit they will study the role of the United Nations in today's global politics and international communications. After recording and discussing all the students' ideas, you will want to give more information from the United Nations section above. You can decide what and how to provide the United Nations information needed for the remainder of the unit. You can decide when to include the information about the MDGs and make the connection to the MDGs and the research that the students have been recording in their interactive journals on their selected developing country.

Activity Two - The Frayer Model

So far in this unit, there has been a lot of vocabulary that is conceptual in nature. The Frayer Model is a way that my students will be able to develop a deeper understanding of the conceptual terms in this unit. I will model the concept of "rhetoric" with my students using the Frayer Model. We will then engage in guided practice with the concepts such as "decorum and kairos." Finally, students will work in pairs to complete a Frayer Model with variety of terms such as: social sphere, economic sphere, and Declaration, just to name a few. Students might even generate their own list of conceptual terms they wish to explore through the Frayer Model. Use the Frayer Model as needed.

Activity Three - Analyzing Primary Sources - (One Speech)

My students will analyze the speech given by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon with an eye on the ethos, logos, pathos, and audience of his speech. In addition, together with this speech and their notes on the MDGs, my students will begin to make the connections between the millennium goals and the needs in the country they have researched and for which they are representative. We will discuss some ways to build ethos, logos, and pathos into an effective persuasive argument in order to elicit aid for their country. We will discuss the direction that they may want their research to continue given the new knowledge they now possess about rhetoric and the MDGs. I will provide library time for them to do further research. If students need further help identifying examples of ethos, logos, pathos, and audience, I have a statement that came from the Civil Strategy Sharing Meeting on the MDG 2010 review that was held in February 2010, in Johannesburg. Once my students have a sound understand of the elements of persuasive rhetoric, they will practice writing mini speeches using Cicero's 5 step plan, refer to the content section above.

Activity Four - RAFTS

My students will read an article, found in our world history textbook, by journalist James Brooke, entitled "Helping the Street Children of Brazil;" you can find out more through google or you may have to find another article with which to do the modeling. After reading and discussing this article, I will introduce the RAFTS strategy to my students. In this way I can model how to do the five steps of Cicero's plan with the students before they try their own mini persuasive speeches and eventually complete the transfer task. The RAFTS for this article will be the following: Role is recent college graduate looking for a job with Project Axe; Audience is Cesare de Florio La Rocca, Founder and Director of Project Axe; Format is a letter; Topic is procuring a job; Strong verbs are convince, justify, sell.

Now that my students know their role, they will work with partners using a role definition matrix to help them plan their letter; this is what Cicero calls invention, step one in the rhetoric process. The role definition matrix will consist of three columns: 1) personality, 2) attitude, and 3) information. Students will jot ideas, details or examples under the personality column that may address questions, specific to the role assigned, such as, "Who am I? What are some aspects of my personality?" The questions my students will consider under attitude, specific to the role assigned, are "What are my feelings, beliefs, ideas, and concerns, especially as they relate to Project Axe? What are my audience's attitudes in this context? What does my audience value?" Under the information column, specific to the role assigned, my students will write ideas, details, or examples that answer the questions "What do I know that I need to share in my writing? What do I really want? What is my goal? What is my audience's point of view about Project Axe? What might be some questions Mr. La Rocca might ask me?"

The second step in Cicero's plan is arrangement. My students will arrange the ideas, details and examples from the role definition matrix into a letter to convince Mr. La Rocca to hire them and justify why they are the best person for the job, basically they are to sell themselves. First my students will introduce themselves during which time they establish their ethos. The brief and believable narration they compose should state any necessary history or facts needed to get the job. Next, my students will add proof of that history or those facts, which comprises the logos of the letter. My students will elaborate upon the argument by supporting it with details and examples from their own experiences. Finally, the ending of the letter is the time to insert the pathos; it is the time to rouse emotions, restate the best points, and show passion for the topic, in this case landing the job with Project Axe.

The task is not over once the letter is written because attention to rhetorical style is essential at this stage. My students must proofread their letters to make sure they contain the proper language for Mr. La Rocca; the letter is clear, direct, and to the point; the letter is vivid, in other words does it come alive for Mr. La Rocca, is it easy for him to visualize the examples; is the decorum of the letter appropriate, does the letter fit into Mr. La Rocca's world in a smooth and seamless way; and finally, is the language pleasing to the ear, does it flow.

The fourth step in preparing a persuasive argument is memory. While is not necessary to do this step with a letter that one might mail, my students will do this as practice for their oral presentation, which is part of the transfer task. My students will practice and create a mental association with parts of what they are saying to aid in the delivery, which is Cicero's fifth and final step in crafting a persuasive speech.

When my students read their letters aloud, they will be asked to transform into a serious and sincere actor. They will determine any gestures, facial expressions, volume changes, and appropriate tone of voice needed to attain their goal. My students will receive a rubric for oral presentations so they will know exactly how they should be reading their letters. This provides guided practice for my students as they move toward the independent transfer task.


A transfer task is a way to see if students understood the big ideas in your unit. This concept comes from the work of Grant Wiggins and Jay McTigue in Understanding by Design. Students must create or complete an original task that has not been covered in class. In this way the task is more that just a test on some material for which they have studied. It is more than that because students must apply their newly gained knowledge and create something original with their new knowledge. It truly assesses a deeper level of understanding on the part of the student.


The final assessment, transfer task, for this unit is in the form of a RAFTS. The role, audience, format, topic and strong verbs are as follows: Role, a citizen of a developing country; Audience, a NGO, president of their country or of another developing or developed country, or general assembly of UN (allow some leeway here because the students may also determine an appropriate audience); Format, a persuasive speech; Topic, obtain help or support for your country; and Strong verbs, convince, plead, urge, encourage, beg, or woo.

Oral Presentation

The delivery of the speech is also part of the final assessment, transfer task, for this unit. Students will be assessed on how well they perform their speech according to a rubric on oral presentations.

Teacher Resources This link will provide students with a persuasion map to use as a guide in developing their argument. This link provides a rubric that teachers and students may find helpful. This link will give the teacher a nice graphic of the Rhetorical Triangle, which may be helpful for students. This is a site that will provide a quick comprehensive list of world-wide developing countries This link provides some good information on the Millennium Villages and the effective work that is being done by the local people as they continue to reach the MDGs by 2015.

This site is to be used by the students as they do research and make decisions about the developing country they will speaking about as part of the transfer task at the end of the unit. This site will provide worksheets to analyze a variety of types of primary sources. Teachers may find this site helpful as it may save time because they will not have to create their own forms. Additionally, this site can be used prior to this lesson so that students have experience analyzing primary sources and researching on the web.

Annotated Bibliography

Black, Maggie. The No-Nonsense Guide to International Development. Oxford, UK: New Internationalist, 2002. This is a very good book to give teachers background on the history and current conditions of developing countries. It will help students and teachers understand the transformation of politics in the global society in which we currently live. It also provides insight into the actual picture of what really happens to native peoples with regard to the development process.

Black, Maggie. The No-Nonsense Guide to the United Nations. Oxford, UK: New Internationalist, 2008. This resource provides a lot of information about the United nations and its role and record on humanitarian relief and development, many of the issues of the MDGs.

Heinrichs, Jay. Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion. New York: Three River Press, 2007. This book is written in a very clear way and provides many, many modern day examples of the classical art of rhetoric. It is a valuable asset to any teacher who aspires to teach her students the art of persuasion. I highly recommend that it becomes part of your classroom library.

Honeycutt, Lee. Aristotle's Rhetoric, retrieved on June 6, 2010.

Kennedy, J. K. Inaugural Address. Washington, DC. 1960. Kennedy's speech is a good example to use to examine ethos, logos, pathos, and style with regard to cleverness of word assembly.

Rajan, Sudhir Chella. Global Politics and Institutions. Boston, MA: Tellus Institute, 2006. This resource provides good background for teachers as they present information on global politics to their classes in student friendly terms.

Sachs, J.D. & McArthur, J.W. The Millennium Project: A Plan for Meeting the Millennium Development Goals. Published online January 12, 2005. Retrieved June 13, 2010

Santa, Carol M., Havens, L.T., Valdes, B.J. Project CRISS: Creating Independence through Student-owned Strategies (3 rd edition). Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company. 2004. This is a manual designed as a support for teachers who participate in a two day training of Project CRISS. It is full of interactive strategies to help students become independent learners. The training and this manual are valuable resources for all teachers.

Von Schirnding, Y. The World Summit on Sustainable Development: Reaffirming the Centrality of Health. Retrieved on June 13, 2010 at yttp:// This article demonstrates the way that other world organizations have aligned their thinking with MDGs in an effort to help meet the deadline target date of 2015.

Weiss, Thomas G., Daws, S., Eds. The Oxford Handbook on the United Nations. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 2007. This resource provides a comprehensive analyses of the structure and functions of the United Nations in the context of today's global challenges and possible solutions.

Wiggins, G.P. & McTighe, J. Understanding by Design (expanded 2nd edition). Alexandria,VA: ASCD. 2005. This resource will provide a more in-depth understanding of the transfer task. It is also a valuable book for creating lessons that help students become more critical thinkers and gain a deeper understanding of what they are studying. Teachers will find helpful.


Implementing State and District Standards

Today's students live in a global society and have the freedom to make decisions that affect not only their lives but also lives of others around the world. Social studies provides skills and knowledge to help them become informed and competent global citizens. This unit addresses three history standards, one economic standard, and one English language arts standard in the Delaware recommended curriculum.

History standard one asks students to use chronological concepts to analyze historical phenomena, more specifically to analyze historical materials to trace the development of a trend over a prolonged period of time in order to explain patterns of historical continuity and change.

History standard two asks students to gather, examine, and analyze historical data, more specifically to develop and implement effective research strategies for investigation given a topic and examine and analyze primary and secondary sources.

History standard three asks student to develop historical knowledge of major events and phenomena in the world, such as revolutions, ideologies, and technological change in the modern world.

Economic standard three asks students to understand different types of economic systems and how they change, more specifically students will analyze the wide range of opportunities and consequences resulting from the current transitions from command to market economies in many countries around the world.

English language standard one asks student to use written and oral English appropriate for various purposes and audiences, more specifically to produce examples that illustrate the persuasive discourse, which is audience-oriented.


  1. Maggie Black, The No-Nonsense Guide to International Development, (Oxford, UK: New Internationalist Publications Ltd., 2002), 16
  2. A transfer task is a pivtol part of the Understanding by Design technique for writing lessons and/or curriculum units created by Grant Wiggins and Jay Tigue. For further information see Understanding by Design.
  3. Bryan Garsten, Yale National Initiative in the Persuasion in Democratic Politics seminar discussion, summer 2010; Jay Heinrichs, Thank you for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us about the Art of Persuasion, (New York, NY: Three Rivers Press, 2007); Lee Honeycutt, Aristotle's Rhetoric, retrieved on June 6, 2010; All of these resources contain valuable information on rhetoric and the art of persuasion and were used to compose the content section on Rhetoric.
  4. Heinrichs, 247
  5. Ibid., 250
  6. Ibid., 252
  7. John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, (Washington, D.C., 1960)
  8. For more information on the glogster presentation technique go to .
  9. Thomas G. Weiss & Sam Daws, The Oxford Handbook on the United Nations, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 736-737
  10. Weiss & Daws, 734-735
  11. Weiss & Daws, 736
  12. Ibid.
  13. Ibid., 787
  14. MDG Report 2010, 75
  15. Black, 12
  16. Ibid.
  17. Yasmin von Schirnding, The World Summit on Sustainable Development: Reaffirming the Centrality of Health, retrieved June 13, 2010 at
  18. Ibid.
  19. Ibid.
  20. Weiss & Daws, 4
  21. Ibid.
  22. Ban Ki-moon, My Priorities as Secretary-General: A Stronger United Nations for a Better World. Retrieved on June 28, 2010 at
  23. Philip Alston, Ships Passing in the Night: The Current State of the Human Rights and Development Debate Seen Through the Lens of the Millennium Development Goals, (Human Rights Quarterly, 2005), 756; J.D. Sachs & J.W. McArthur, The Millennium Project: A Plan for Meeting the Millennium Development Goals, (Published online, 2005), 347
  24. Alston, 756
  25. Sacks & McArthur, 347
  26. Alston, 764
  27. retrieved on July 11, 2010
  28. Ibid.
  29. Mindstreaming is activity used to activate prior knowledge or build background. This activity is used in the Project CRISS (Creating Independence through Student-owned 30 Strategies) professional development trainings.
  30. A "T" chart is a quick strategy to reinforce expected behaviors during an activity or strategy completion. The teacher draws a vertical line on the board, then at about two inches from the top of the line draw a horizontal line across and through the vertical line. This will form a "T". Draw an eye at the top of the left-hand column and an ear at the top of the right-hand column. Then elicit from the students what active nonverbal listening looks like and sounds like. Write their responses in the appropriate column. They have now set the ground rules and you can refer to the rules throughout the strategy lesson. This is a great strategy to help with classroom management.
  31. Discussion Web is a strategy to help all students to rethink a topic, challenge view points, and acknowledge arguments. To learn more about discussion webs see Avlerman, 1991 and Buehl, 2001. This activity is used in the Project CRISS (Creating Independence through Student-owned Strategies) professional development trainings.
  32. For more information on the Frayer model see Frayer, Fredrecik, & Kausmeither, 1969 in Buehl, 2001. This activity is used in the Project CRISS (Creating Independence through Student-owned Strategies) professional development trainings.
  33. RAFT was originally conceived by Nancy Vandevanter in 1982 during the Montana Writing Project. This activity is used in the Project CRISS (Creating Independence through Student-owned Strategies)

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