THE LANGUAGE OF POWER:
Ancient rhetoric, persuasive speech
A one-day workshop for pupils ages 8 to 18
Since the dawn of civilisation, rhetoric – the ancient art of persuasive speech – has been seen a mark of an educated person. In 19th century London, it was possible to get a free education in rhetoric – but not in mathematics. It was well understood that an education in effective spoken communication is vitally important as an entry point into democratic society and the “great conversation” of humanity.
In recent years however, the formal teaching of ancient rhetoric has become the preserve of elite private schools. Widening access to an education in rhetoric should be a pressing concern to anyone who wants to increase social justice, decrease social inequality and embrace participatory democracy.
Once you become aware of the rhetorical sleights of hand used by history’s movers and shakers, you start seeing them everywhere. And once you realise that you can use these techniques to argue just as passionately for something as against it, it makes you appropriately suspicious of people who have a “way with words”. So not only does learning about rhetoric help your pupils get better at persuasive speaking and writing – it also helps them learn to read the world with a more critical eye.
If you want to invest in your pupils’ future by helping them develop and embed high standards of presentational talk, this one-day workshop is the gift that will keep on giving!