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Political Rhetoric

In the Sixth Form English classroom one of the manifold topics is political rhetoric. My proficiency course students examined political campaign speeches to explore the characteristics of effective persuasive speechwriting. They did not only discover what makes a strong speech but also learnt how to formulate logical arguments using rhetorical devices and backing them up with illustrating examples.

Since persuasive writing and speaking is something students are confronted with either as recipients or as speakers and writers in their own right, they were asked to apply their skills and knowledge by writing and giving free speeches with topics of their own choice. In the following you find three samples of speeches, all of which the product of team work. ENJOY!

Sabine Geppert
October 2016

The impact of Youtube and necessary changes

Imagine coming home and seeing your child that has just committed suicide. A dead, motionless body hanging from the ceiling. You probably all wonder why this tragedy has happened, why an eleven-year-old boy, beloved son and friend, is no longer among us. It is because of social media! After watching a prank video of his favourite Youtuber, he wanted to do a remake of it. All this has ended up with him being dead.

This extreme example shows that Youtube has a giant impact on the younger generation. For them Youtube is the new television and, above all, it is a huge part of their lives. They see those Youtubers as their role models and can identify themselves with them. The problem is, the person they identify with is not necessarily the real human being.

´Broadcast yourself´ is the main idea of Youtube. Generally speaking, it is a good principle, because you can share your creative ideas. In the early days of Youtube, it was all about sharing funny moments, experiences or just telling stories.

But nowadays the content on the platform has changed. Today you can earn money with your videos, and Youtube is developing and has already developed into a serious business. This is why the reason to make a video is no longer just fun. The motto which they now follow is `Do it for the likes` - and through this the Youtubers forget their responsibility towards the viewers.

These days it seems that a good-looking thumbnail, which attracts as many viewers as possible, is more important than the Youtubers` sense of responsibility for their audience. You may think you are not affected? You`re wrong! Even if you are not the person who is watching the video, you will always be surrounded by at least one of those people who have. Therefore it is of utmost importance that we make Youtubers aware of their responsibilities!

Is it really necessary to promote this particular nailpolish? Is it really necessary to take a picture of a naked woman as a thumbnail for a gaming video just to get clicked by young boys? Is it really necessary to prank people so badly until they cry? Isn`t this a step backwards?

We have gained so much in the past few years. There is a huge movement of minimalists who promote a life without the newest mascara or nailpolish. You can also find them on Youtube. But those are small Youtubers who do not earn any money with the things they publish.

Do you have to encourage consumption to be big on this platform? We think that people do not recognize that everything they are watching is a huge advertisment. People are used to being encouraged to consume things. We thought that we have come to a point where women are no longer pretty objects that can cook. But when we look at the “famous“ site on Youtube, we get a lot of proof that most people do not agree with us.

Using women as clickbaits, Youtubers don`t even show the female face, just her breasts or bottom. It would be acceptable, if the same happened to men, but have you ever seen that? Feminists all around the world have been fighting for women´s rights, this struggle just can`t be destroyed by making money.

Think about how much time you are spending by watching Youtube. Isn`t it horrible that we watch people playing video games instead of spending our time with real friends? Isn`t it horrible that we look at girls doing their make-up instead of doing the things we love? It is high time to stop this! Every Youtuber should be aware of his responsibilities.

Therefore we ask all Youtubers to rethink their contents. Think about it! Is it more important to you to be famous and earn lots of money, or to be the best role model you can be for the young generation in our world? You should never forget that behind those numbers and likes, which you see on your screen, there are real people. People who admire you for the person you are on the internet.

Thank you.

Q1 / LK English / Frau Geppert: Annika Heinstadt, Franziska Leclerc, Vera von Montigny, Julia Schiffer, Hannah Wintershoff


School supresses students` individuality

Have you ever been in the situation that you get out of school and it is already dark outside?

School supresses students` individuality

Have you ever been in the situation that you get out of school and it is already dark outside?

Have you ever had the feeling that you have to study 24/7 just to keep up?

And have you ever had to give up something you love for the sake of school?

School suppresses students` individuality!

So first, what is school? School is black hole. A black hole that devours everything: starting with your free time and soon after that your hobbies and your own interests. And remember! Never stop taking care of your friends and family or else they will be swallowed, too.

To say it briefly: school does not leave time for anything, and furthermore it even suffocates your talents and uniqueness.

But what causes school to be like that? Where do the mistakes lie?

Let’s think about it this way: Every human being is an individual. And all these individuals are pressed into the same system. Variety turns into uniformity.

Caught in this cage of sameness, some pupils get lost and no one recognizes it. And then teachers and others students point at them, calling them dumb, which they, of course, are not. If you judged a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it would live its whole life believing it is dumb. You just cannot judge by grades only what a student is really capable of.

Individual knowledge resulting from a student´s own interests and inquisitiveness can normally not be shown if it is not on the curriculum. And many talents cannot be supported or even discovered before they wither away……

This leads us to the question whether the best students really are the smartest ones. And, moreover, we have to ask ourselves what intelligence really means. Is it to be able to learn as much as possible in very little time, or is it to know as much as one is capable of? Or is it to know what really counts in life?

To be honest, life lessons are not taught by teachers. Only experience can teach them to you. And isn’t it obvious that it is impossible to experience anything caught in a black hole? So you people sitting here in this classroom, you all have to decide how much of your life you want to dedicate to school and how much of it you want to keep for yourselves. Always keep in mind that the most successful people did not achieve their aims due to their grades but because of their personalities.

As a conclusion, we all have to find the right balance between school and private life. Because we believe none of us wants this complete loss of creativity and individuality, with our society turning into a hollow body - at least not any more than it already is.

Q1 / LK English / Frau Geppert: Julia Bauersachs, Emily Friedmann, Jenny Lerch, Sandra Heining, Alina Zimmermann

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