Make the Tools of Rhetoric (Ethos, Pathos, Logos) Meaningful for Teens

Good ol’ Aristotle was right. If students use all three of the tools of rhetoric he identified – ethos, pathos, and logos – they’ll win any argument. Lecturing about these rhetorical tools is fine, but it’s even better for students to see how these same tools are used today by writers and speakers.

Take, for instance, Steve Jobs. No matter whether you view Jobs as a hero or villain, it’s clear that he had a commanding grasp of Aristotle’s tools of rhetoric, skillfully wielding them in his well-known 2004 commencement address to Stanford University’s Class of 2005.

Have your students dig into the text of Jobs’ speech and they’ll gain a deeper appreciation of how these tools can sway every audience.


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