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        Public Speaking and Persuasion - Improve Your School!

        Students will watch two videos from China depicting public speeches. Afterwards, they will create and give presentations of their own. During these presentations they will describe ways in which they would like to improve their school and try to persuade the audience to agree with their ideas. 

        Lesson Summary


        Students will watch two video segments about the first school government election held in Wuhan Province, China.  Students will then describe ways in which they would like to improve their school by making an oral presentation to persuade the audience to agree with their ideas.  Students are evaluated on their public speaking skills and their ability to be persuasive.

        Why is this an important concept?

        Students who practice and refine their public speaking skills learn to explain their points of view in a clear, succinct manner.  Furthermore, they learn to adapt presentation formats to suit various audiences and consider the needs of the audience when speaking for the purpose of persuasion.  This skill is necessary for success in higher education as well as in the professional world.

        Grade Level:


        Suggested Time

        (3) 45-minute periods

        Media Resources


        The Lesson

        Part I: Learning Activity

        1. Ask students to brainstorm a list of things they know about the government of China.  How is it similar to or different from the government in their country?  Check for prior knowledge by asking students what they know about a democracy and what they know about elections.  Introduce both video segments, “Debate Begins” and “Final Speeches.”

        2. Inform students that the segments are about the first democratic election to be held in China.  It was done as an experiment with a third grade class in Wuhan Province voting for their class monitor. (Please note that the video segments contain subtitles.  You may want to play the segments multiple times or provide the transcripts for clarity and comprehension.)  Play the segments.

        3. Distribute the Please Vote for Me Video Questions handout.  Instruct students to answer the questions while watching the video segments.  Show the segments again so students can review and confirm their answers.

        4. After viewing, discuss the segments with students.  Ask them to share their handout answers with the class during a teacher-guided question and answer session. 

        5. Once students have added any additional information to their handouts, ask students if any of them have ever run for a position in school government.  Have any of them ever participated in voting (i.e., what movie to go and see with friends, what activity a class would prefer to do)? 

        6. Conduct a teacher-guided brainstorming session that answers the following question: If you were to take part in student government, what things would you like to change in order to improve your school?  Tell students their ideas should be things that could actually happen and that would benefit the majority of students and teachers (some examples may be more meal choices in the cafeteria or having more passing time between classes).  Write this list on the board.

        7. Distribute the Improve Your School! Directions handout.  Inform students that they need to select one thing they would like to do to improve their school.  Students think about how they will persuade their classmates to agree.

        8. Students use remaining class time to survey classmates in order to gather information to help support their ideas.  Students complete first draft of presentation for homework.

        Part II: Assessment

        Part 1

        1. Students will write and practice their persuasive presentations.  Students exchange presentation drafts with fellow students to peer-edit and discuss needed revisions and/or additions.

        2. Next, distribute the Presentation Suggestions handout to the class.  Review the suggestions listed.

        3.Distribute the Class Presentation rubric.

        4. Review presentation guidelines with students.  Discuss the visual aids section at the end of the rubric.  Explain that each student will create a visual aid for their presentation.  This could be a graph or a pie chart outlining student survey results, photos/drawings of possible improvements or before/after diagrams.  Emphasize the importance of visual aids when trying to change people’s opinions.

        5. Students use remaining class time to create visual aids or practice their presentations, either individually or with partners acting as the audience.

        Part 2:

        1. Using the presentation materials they prepared, students will give their Improve Your School! presentations.  They will be graded using the rubric that was reviewed during yesterday’s class.

        For students who need additional guidance:

        • Allow students to watch the video segment multiple times.
        • Provide extended time to complete the Please Vote for Me Questions handout, or have students work with a partner to complete questions.
        • Provide a written outline or checklist for students to follow when writing the first draft of their presentation.
        • Model a presentation for the students.
        • Show sample visual aids, such as pie charts or graphs of student survey data or drawings of possible school improvements.


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