Stop Press. Sculpture award! 1st Prize for former teacher. Awarded by the Association of Sculptors of Victoria, Australia. Congratulations to Allan Goedecke, educational consultant, for his "Domestic Divine".

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Classroom Resources

Persuasive texts/language analysis: Lessons (introduction- a persuasive opinion and 8 current texts with analysis and commentary) Senior English, Politics

Energy, burqas, Gonski..."Trust us" says the Australia media. "Don't listen to the politicians, they're unprincipled/opportunist...": Discussion of current issues is often mixed with attacks on 'the political class'. In this project, we try to separate the threads to get to the issues. Some politicians contribute little to quality discussion, some deserve much stronger criticism but some recurring criticism of 'the political class' is highly dubious and of increasing concern to SBD. In this project we examine topical issues for obvious and underlying messages. We unearth and consider some highly persuasive techniques, messages and language but our opinion piece on the subject of political attack is also designed to persuade so it too might need some close scrutiny!

'Incentive to Learn': "These are the only classroom strategies we have ever found to be near infallible in achieving harmonious, hard working groups regardless of their educational advantage or disadvantage...

Classroom management software: 'Awards & Rewards' (purchase item) More

2017 1st Prize "Domestic Divine' Allan Goedecke

Awards are given through the Association of Sculptors of Victoria, Australia annual exhibition.

The judges comments: "This work appealed to the judges on multiple levels. While deceptively simple in terms of its component parts, the combination of a domestic dinner plate with a finely modelled and executed head, created a witty composition that plays on Buddhist and Christian iconography. The result is original, contemplative and compositionally intriguing."

Allan has been a weekly student at the Victorian Artists Society in Albert St East Melbourne for two years. His teacher is Gray Nicol. The prize category was sculptors with less than 10 years experience.

(Allan is an educationalist with particular interest for School by Design for his strong support of our positive classroom program see Incentive to Learn. He also gifted us with an unpublished short story for primary students, see Short Stories about which we are most appreciative.)

Persuasive Texts

Introduction to Theme 1: Media and Politicians


8 Selected texts/analysis. Theme 1: Media and Politicians Senior English

Our opinion

Mining for truth

SBD feels extremely appreciative of Australia's journalists. It is not an easy job and is becoming more difficult but the role of journalists is not always clear and media frustrations or pressures can create complications.

In selecting texts for this project, we found an unexpected development. The start of 2017 saw much media commentary about the public’s disillusionment with politicians. This discussion developed into a strong and continuous media preoccupation.

When we looked closer however, the issue seemed more about the media than the public, less about disenchantment and more about an antagonism being expressed in an increasingly dubious manner. Negative media views were being threaded through all political topics whether housing, migration, marriage equality or terrorism.

The media of course includes many opposing views. Some programs present a range of commentators while other outlets continue with their traditional opposition to their traditional political enemies. While this is biased it is predictable. The escalating trend of denigratory remarks about any or all of the 'political class', was disquieting. It was often the end of discussion about the major issues.

Isn't criticism the job of the media?

Unreasonable attacks set a low bench mark. They pave the way for any sort of un-reason from low level social nastiness to political extremism. We believe it is the job of the media to hold individuals or political parties to account but negative comment about the 'political class' is not the same as rigorous evaluation of individual people, parties or policies.

Some leading politicians insult other politicians or parties in an indiscriminate, irrational and hostile manner. This discourages the public from an interest in politics. When media commentary insults all politicians in an equally indiscriminate, equally irrational and equally hostile manner it is equally discouraging. It was our view that in a subtle but cumulative way, negative media commentary was dampening public interest in even the freshest or most interesting of topics. It was becoming an ongoing distraction.

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Some of the forms...

Negative motivation is an increasingly embedded theme in media commentary. Political parties are not described as responding to an issue. Instead they are said to 'seize' the chance, 'jump' on the opposition, 'wedge' or 'obstruct' . Politicians do not respond to new policies, they are described as 'trying to upstage' the opposition but speculation about political intentions is an effective distraction. The suggestions about cynical political motives assume the commentators have hidden knowledge. This is a highly unreliable assumption. Such suggestions also imply the commentator and only the commentator is able to take the high moral ground. Whatever the intentions, the end result is discouraging.

If policies sound appealing, fair, reasonable, or interesting, they are increasingly called 'populist'. New policies come with a comment that 'of course, (the politician) will be standing for election in 12 months' - a comment that ensures the intention and therefore the policy (and our interest) is tainted.

'Partisan' politics has become a media term to imply prejudice, pettiness or an inability to see another side. If a judge is unmistakably partisan it is a betrayal because judges are meant to be even-handed but politicians are not judges and we don't usually vote for, expect or want our politicians to be even-handed.

Partisan means an enthusiastic supporter. We don't see a problem with strong feelings. Strong feelings can arguably be said to have achieved more major reforms than otherwise.


Is spreading a grey jaundiced coating on political news, 'sincere' cynicism or misdirection?

The persuasive language described above is insidious. It can disguise its real intention whatever that may be but it can also filter real issues, real political achievements, real alternatives and real shortcomings. Whether from pressures, frustrations or simply current fashions, journalists may well be disguising truth and discouraging public interest more effectively than any politician. It is unfashionable to defend politicians but quality, reasoned media arguments should not be replaced by emotive and belittling opinions regardless of the target if only because the impact of such opinions is to lower the standard of discussion, lower the standard of thinking skills and open the way to manipulation.

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More complex attacks..

Some journalists criticize 'the political class' in more complex ways. In our view, some of the new, recent media expectations of Australian politicians such as 'bipartisanship' are based on faulty premises, promote contradictory expectations and are creating much unnecessary negativity. Some of our texts in this project demonstrate reasoned argument about topical issues, some show insults about particular politicians while others are blatantly prejudicial about any or all.

Insult or argument, persuasive texts come in many forms with a variety of techniques, language and tones...

What's your view?

...but students will judge the texts, judge the commentary and decide for themselves about which styles are effective and why.

8 Selected texts/analysis.

Ideas and philosophies

Persuasive terms, definitions




This section provides simple short, background definitions to help sort out fact from insult, fact from false praise. The western system of capitalism has been successful in persuading at least the western public to its point of view but economics is increasingly controversial with much international instability/inequality. An understanding of economic, political terms is essential to an understanding of social/political/economic media messages. Top of Page

Allan Goedecke (see review)

'Incentive to Learn'

Free classroom management package

These are the only strategies we have ever found to be near infallible in achieving harmonious, hard working classes regardless of the educational advantage or disadvantage of the students.

The package shows how teachers using evidence-based processes, can give high status to productive student effort and ensure ongoing student motivation. Top of Page


Education consultant and children's writer, Allan Goedecke Melbourne 2016

"... provides a safe, structured, achievable framework ... Students who are unused to positive classroom results are able to achieve regular, positive and evidence based feedback from their teachers ... For many, it might be the first time they have heard, "Good work, well done" and be able to take that story home to their families. This in turn helps to create a calmer learning environment which impacts positively on all in the classroom." For more details- Details

Contact us for package. Contact us

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Database 'Awards & Rewards' (A&R)

Classroom management software

The 'Awards & Rewards' (A&R) database is custom built to acknowledge productive student effort- the key element in the freely available 'Incentive to Learn' package.( Contact us for the package.)The database is not an essential component of the package but does make the strategies easier to use if no comparable database is available.

It includes 5 other sections relating to important areas of classroom management. Top of Page

Designed primarily for classroom use, A&R is for student management. It integrates with other school programs via export/import facilities.

Sections. A&R's work practices awards (fast entry of continuous, ongoing awards for productive effort) are complemented by 5 other sections; some such as school administration awards are positive- others, such as detentions and incident reports are less so. All sections are part of common, sound student classroom management but they also provide important data for monitoring change. All sections are similarly based on best professional practice but the lesson awards are a highly valued part of this program.(Australian schools: schools with disadvantaged student populations should contact us for particular assistance. Top of Page

Trial software tool 'Awards & Rewards'

Purchase/Download (Teacher version) (NB Cookies need to be enabled to link to secure site.)

Purchase/download school version: Contact us

Key Features

  • Work practices awards (lesson awards) that promote self esteem. These are achievable by all students and foster pleasant and productive learning environments. They are supported by strategies, materials and case studies which encourage and enable the easy identification of productive learning

See Classroom/School: Extracts from Case Studies.

  • Administration Awards are initiated and designed by the school or classroom teacher in teacher version. They might include an award for community service, a library prize, sports awards. Administration awards can be added, deleted or edited as required. Top of Page

'Incentive to Learn' Package

(continued from above)

Prompt and official acknowledgement of student work directs student attention on the challenges in front of them. Absorption in learning may not remove anxieties about family, school, past failures, future tests, marks or rankings but it does allow them to be temporarily shelved. Designed by Australian teachers, these processes cater for individual differences and maintain integrity and consistency across students and classes. All students can be treated equally, all can take risks and all can achieve equal recognition for productive work whatever the task, their abilities or their different learning contexts. Contact us

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Classroom Resources


Short Stories: "Wake up Little Suzie" Jackie Savage