Persuasion and Influence

1. Exploring the Purpose of Persuasive Texts

Suggested Learning Intentions

  • To develop an understanding of the purpose and range of persuasive text types

Sample Success Criteria

  • I can explain why people write persuasive texts
  • I can express an opinion or point of view
  • Paper and coloured markers
  • Access to digital resources
  • Brainstorm: Purpose and features of persuasive texts: docx PDF

This stage of the sequence focuses on building the context or field in order to support students to understand the purpose and features of persuasive texts.

Invite students to watch a short video from Behind the News, Student Climate Protests.

Facilitate a general discussion about why the students were participating in the climate strike and what they were hoping to achieve.

Ensure that students have an understanding of what it means to persuade another person or group, and what is meant by the term 'point of view'.

Facilitate a discussion about the purpose and structural and language features of persuasive texts.

Suggested prompts:

  • Why might we want to persuade other people to change the way they think or act?
  • How might we try and persuade someone to think or act in a particular way?
  • What are some of the techniques we could use to make our point of view more convincing?
  • What techniques did you see employed by the student protesters?

Support students to develop their answers by:

  • conducting a gallery walk, where prepared questions are ‘posted’ on different stations around the room on large pieces of paper. Allow time for the students to circulate around the room recording their responses to each question and building on to the ideas of other students.
  • asking students to collaboratively create a concept map or mind map. You may choose to co- construct a mind map with your students using the information from the gallery walk.

Make the learning visible for your students by creating a class display with the information they have gathered. As students read and analyse a range of persuasive texts, encourage them to add explicit examples of persuasive techniques to the display. Students could write and/or illustrate each example.

1. Brainstorm controversial issues

Select a visual prompt that illustrates the power of an individual to change the way others think and act. For example, a photograph of a persuasive leader/s, such as Greta Thunberg, or Melati and Isabel Wijsen or a video telling an inspirational story. Facilitate a discussion about the issues that are important to them and the things they might like to change.

Possible question prompts:

  • How have you tried to persuade someone to change the way they act or think?
  • What are some things you would like to see change?
  • Why might you want to persuade others to change the way they think or act?
  • How might you persuade them?
  • What do you see and hear in your day that might be trying to persuade you to act or think in a particular way?

Ask students to work in collaborative groups to brainstorm a list of responses to these questions.

Discuss the responses and co-create a list of controversial topics of interest to the students.

2. Examine and create persuasive placards

View another video about the 2019 Climate Rally. Discuss the viewpoints, or arguments presented by the students in more detail.

Possible prompts:

  • What were the aims of the students who participated in the Schools' Strike for Climate Action?
  • The students were ‘calling for change’. What do you think is meant by this phrase?
  • How do you feel about people arguing that the students should have been in school?

Draw attention to some of the language on the placards that the students were holding: 

  • Nature doesn’t negotiate
  • There is no planet B
  • I’ve seen smarter cabinets at Ikea
  • Denial is not a policy
  • Stop denying the earth is dying

Discuss the writer’s purpose and intention, and the effectiveness of the images and language used in the placards. Ask students to suggest the key features of an effective placard as opposed to an ineffective placard. Record their responses on the board and co-design success criteria for a persuasive placard.

Invite students to select one of the issues from the class display and design a placard to present their point of view. Encourage students to work in collaborative pairs to design and create a placard.

Promote opportunities for students to provide feedback to each other, assessing how successfully the placards promote a clear point of view. For example:

  • Display the placards and invite students to suggest what the author's point of view may be.
  • Use a feedback protocol, (e.g. search 'warm and cool' protocol).

ABC News, 2018. Students strike for climate change protests, defying calls to stay in school. [Online] 
Available at: 
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

ABC, 2019. Behind the News, Student Climate Protests. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

ABC, 2019. Behind the News, Thousands of young Aussies across the country attend the climate change strikes. [Online] 
Available at: 
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

Great Big Story, 2014. The man clearing 9,000 tons of trash from Mumbai’s beaches. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

NBC News, 2019. Greta Thunberg is Time’s 2019 Person of the Year. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

Schrock, K., 2019. Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything - Concept mapping in the classroom. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

TED, 2016. Our Campaign to ban plastic bags in Bali. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

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