On our last review day before exams, we looked at persuasive techniques – appeal to emotions, values, logic, and word choice. We looked at ads together, then I had them analyze an ad in groups and do an on-the-fly presentation describing the audience, message, and technique utilized. I think they enjoyed it; I picked a variety of ad campaigns and I think they’ll do well analyzing on the final tomorrow. My favorite line was from one group analyzing the message in a print ad from the “Pure Michigan” campaign: “If your life sucks, go to Michigan.”
One thing I have noticed consistently in the last semester is my students’ intense desire to always answer my questions inappropriately. For example, when looking a Maybelline ad that is obviously targeting women, they say the audience is “gay men who wear make up”. When I ask, “Which sounds more informed, that there is a 40% chance of rain or that it might rain?” they answer, “‘It might rain’ is more believable. C’mon miss, this is Texas.” Whatever that means. On the Pure Michigan ad, one kid announced his first thoughts about it were, “Brokeback Mountain.” I was speechless. I think I might need to start teaching younger grades, where kids love getting the answer right for the sake of pleasing their teacher, not getting it wrong for the sake of pleasing their peers. My Pre-K Sunday school class is more along these lines…at least, the worst thing they can say is “underwear.” They don’t tend to emit totally offensive/racist/irrational/inappropriate comments at the same rate as the average high school sophomore.
Time to finish writing their final exam for tomorrow…mwahahaha 🙂