Posted by: jockmackenzie | January 21, 2010

Persuasive Writing – Part 3

Thanks to Web Clip Art for the image


F =Facts and Statistics

R =Reasons

E =Examples

Q =Quotes

O =Opinions

E =Experiences

S = Senses

Information noted in blue type comes from my book Essay Writing: Teaching the Basics from the Ground Up.

In Parts 1 and 2, my blog entries considered a middle school classroom where the teacher, Mr. Mackenzie, had given class notes about how to develop ideas within any piece of work but was concentrating, this time, on persuasive writing. Two of his students, Jared and Brittany, were on opposite sides of a debate about airport security.

A variety of choices was always available in Mr. Mackenzie’s class. Two other students had decided to consider the general topic – The Olympics. Mr. Mack didn’t dictate that each student narrow the general topic to the identical specific topic because he liked to allow each student to persuade, argue, cajole, coax, influence, sway, woo, impress, or move fellow classmates to the particular point the individual student wanted to make. Having pairs of students consider a similar general topic was sufficient.

Ahmad had decided to take what might be an unpopular stance and argue that the Olympics had changed for the worse. Ahmad looked at Mr. Mackenzie’s notes and decided to begin his research, not with the first item on the FREQOES list, but with the one he liked best – Opinions. The notes said:


Give your own view, judgment, or outlook.

We cant’ blame the federal or the provincial government or someone else far away. I think our local government is responsible for some of the recent problems dealing with street people.

Ahmad liked Mr. Mackenzie’s short notes and made some short points of his own. He wrote:

In my opinion:

The modern Olympics has lost the true intent of Olympic sport.

As much as I like the National Hockey League, I don’t want to watch professional athletes in the Olympics.

Commercialism and hype have taken over the Olympics.

Ahmad was the kind of student who thought both inside and outside the box. When he looked again at Mr. Mackenzie’s notes, he saw they mentioned only “your own view, judgment . . .” Ahmad thought it would be good to include the opinions of experts (if he could find any) or maybe someone knowledgeable who his classmates would consider a worthy source.

The most obvious choice seemed to be the class’s Phys. Ed teacher, Mr. Bower. As it turned out, Mr. B was totally on side. Ahmad actually got him to repeat what he said so Mr. B’s opinion could be used as a direct quote. (Ahmad didn’t care about labels; he wasn’t worried if the idea he got was an “opinion” shared as a “quote” – it was simply good information.)

What if Ahmad could get the opinion of a real Olympian? Thinking he’d take a stab at his own Olympic gold, he went to the internet and Googled his topic and city’s name – “Olympic athletes Red Deer” and arrived at this site:

The site showed him 10 athletes from Red Deer who had been in the Olympics. Using one of the phone books from Mr. Mackenzie’s class set, Ahmad began his search. This time he began at the top of the list. There was no Grant Albrecht in the book, but there a  Bawtinheimer P. A quick look at the other names showed Ahmad that there was either no listing, or two or more for each name. He got permission use the phone in the staff room (and he was shocked at how different it looked from what he’d imagined) and he made the call. Typical – no one home . . . but there was an answering machine. He left a message and both the school’s and his home phone number.  What were the chances he’d found the right Bawtinheimer? What were the chances he’d get a return phone call?

That night the call came . . . and it was Mr. Pat Bawtinheimer, Olympic mixed trap shooter from the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Ahmad hardly knew what to say. He did manage to get a pen and paper and jot down a few thoughts:

– yes, Mr. Bawtinheimer thought the Olympics had changed for the worse, and the change had come when professionals had been allowed to participate

– even when the Olympics was just for amateurs, some countries bent the rules. In Mr. Bawtinheimer’s time, the Russian shooters were in the army but not as regular soldiers. The Russians did nothing but practice shooting each and every day.

– money, but not professional salaries, was a problem before as well. Wealthy people were often Olympic athletes because they could afford to practice their sports rather than working and they could travel around the world to get the needed experience.

– more recently, sponsorships had solved some problems and caused others. A sponsored athlete could get a company to pay expenses, allow for practice time, and cover travel costs. Unsponsored competitors had none of these advantages.

Ahmad hadn’t been prepared for the phone call so didn’t get as much information as he could have. Nonetheless, he was pumped about what he had gotten . . . and Mr. Bawtinheimer had been so nice, so helpful, and had said to call back if there was anything else he could add.

To be continued . . .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: