By Casper Rongsted, 2021
For years we have been telling our children to stop staring into their screens and go outside. Now, we’re asking them to stay indoors and stare into the screen. I can absolutely understand if they are confused. We have to change the way we teach online. Now. Or we’ll bore a whole generation to death.
Today, it is snowing in Denmark. Looking through the window this morning, our eyes were met with a totally changed world – all dressed in white. What a beautiful sight. It looks like a Disney movie, so wonderfully quiet with everything covered in snow. Over the last year we have not seen snow here in Denmark, so it is really something special. But my fourteen year old daughter, Lili, still had to go to school at nine o’clock. In front of her screen, she logged in to meet the faces of her classmates and her teacher. Today, the subject was Aristotle’s rhetorical appeals:
· Ethos – an appeal to ethics
· Pathos – an appeal to emotion
· Logos – an appeal to logic
The class had started working on this in Monday’s lesson; yesterday they expanded their understanding of the subject and today, Wednesday, they were continuing the work. But their Danish teacher, Solveig (the name means the way to the sun), quite surprised them. She asked the students to go into a break-out room and solve this task in groups of four:
“Please, write down four specific examples of what to say to convince your parents that you should be allowed to go outside. Use all three of Aristotle’s rhetorical appeals.
Lili and her classmates did the task and created some good examples in their groups. Then Solveig gathered the class again and said: Please, share some of your examples with the class.
Smiling, the students all gave some great examples of their rhetorical appeals. Then Solveig said: Now, go and use the best appeals on your parents. Most parents are working from home these days, so this was no problem. The class did as she asked them, and then they all returned to Solveig who asked: How did it go? Did you get permission to go outside?
To those of the students who answered Yes, Solveig said: well, out you go! See you in an hour.
To the students who were not allowed outdoors she said: stay here and we will work more with Aristoteles’ rhetorical appeals.
Now, I was in the room next door to experience all this. And I loved every minute. The way the teacher, Solveig, connected the students’ learning to the real world outside was so brilliant, and I am sure that when asking the students later in the school year, they will all remember this moment.
Let’s set the students free some more. Let’s go outside.
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