Pros and Cons In the previous lesson, we learned that it is important to consider your audience in persuasive writing. What motivates one audience to think or act a certain way, will not necessarily motivate another. When you get your topic and audience for a persuasive essay, it is helpful to begin planning by making a pros and cons chart.
Pros and Cons You are writing an essay supporting students having cell phones in schools. Your audience is teachers. What are some possible audience pros? (What makes it a good idea for students to have cell phones from a teacher’s perspective?) Safety in case of earthquake or pickup changes Get important messages from home without whole class interruption Can use it to look up information Could be used as a reward - finish your work and you can listen to music or play games on phone
Pros and Cons Once you have considered your audience motivators (pros), you must also think about the concerns of your audience. These opposing views are detractors (cons). Consider: Why might the audience disagree with you? What would hold the audience back from thinking or acting the way you want? What are the opposing views to your position?
Pros and Cons You are writing an essay supporting students having cell phones in schools. Your audience is teachers. What are some possible audience concerns or opposing views? Students won’t pay attention in class. Students could text each other answers to their work. The phones could get stolen or broken.
Students with Cell Phones (Audience - Teachers) Pros Safety in case of earthquake or pickup changes Get important messages from home without whole class interruption Can use it to look up information Could be used as a reward - finish your work and you can listen to music or play games on phone Cons Distraction Potential cheating Lost/stolen
Pros and Cons When you plan and write your essay, you will need to address some of your reader’s concerns to persuade them. If you ignore opposing viewpoints, it is easier for the reader to ignore your ideas and views. You don’t want the reader to get to the end of your essay and think, “Yeah, but…” The reader is more convinced when he/she can see you have thought about all sides of the issue or topic.
Addressing Reader Concerns/Opposing Views Concern: Cell phones could be a distraction. Addressed in the essay: Though some teachers might worry that students would be distracted by cell phones, they might be surprised at how effective it could be as a reward for focusing on work. For example, a student could earn minutes of phone use for good behavior in class.
Addressing Reader Concerns/Opposing Views Concern: Cell phones could get lost or stolen. Addressed in the essay: Cell phones could get lost or stolen, but the students’ parents could sign permission slips saying they understand the risks. The fact it, the benefits of students having cell phones far outweigh the risks.
Pros and Cons There is no rule set in stone for exactly how many pros and cons you must consider, but here are some guidelines: Generally, you will have more pros listed than cons. You want to list as many as possible so you can choose the strongest motivators when it comes time to write. Usually, you will have at least two or three cons. Again, more is better because you’ll have choices when you write.
Pros/Cons Now it’s time to try it on your own!