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Upper School Students Study Use Of Propaganda Videos

As part of a study on how commercial and political advertisements employ the rhetorical triangle in their efforts to persuade an audience, ninth-grade students in Heather Clagett's upper school English class produced propaganda videos last Spring.  

In the movie 1984, "the Party" effectively markets Big Brother through videos (such as the “Two Minutes Hate”) that both praise Big Brother and demonize his enemies.

In order to demonstrate an understanding of how the rhetorical triangle can be effectively used to promote a product, students used video programs to make a hype video for a Lausanne faculty member that simultaneously markets them up as the best faculty member and explains why their opponent does not live up to their awesomeness.

In addition, the students wrote reports as a group that detailed their artistic choices.

In planning the project, the student groups worked through the following steps:

  • Group contract – Designated roles and expectations. 
  • Planning –  Reaching out to the faculty and asking questions and figuring out what to say about them. Storyboarding the ideas for the video. Students also had a day in class where they publicly defended your prototype. After receiving feedback from peers and the teacher, the storyboard was then revised.
  • Filming/production – Students scheduled a time and place outside of class to film. As they were "actors" in this scenario, students communicated what they should do or say ahead of time. They then worked in class to edit the video down to a one minute project.
  • Postproduction – After all of the videos were submitted, each group wrote a report that details how effectively they used the rhetorical triangle when designing, filming, and editing their video.

The top videos were then shown in upper school convocation.