Seeing the Other Side

Students sometimes have difficulty with persuasive writing.  I think that is because students don’t practice persuasion in their daily lives.  They ask and are told no, or they whine.  That’s about it.  A student skilled in the art of persuasion, however, can be refused nothing! (Don’t hold me to that…)

Before you can see the other side of the argument, you need to fully understand your own side.  Brainstorm a list of reasons that support your argument.  Put down all your ideas, even the ones you know aren’t going to work!  One strategy to use for thinking of arguments is the EITHER OR list.  EITHER OR is an acronym to help you remember kinds of persuasive arguments.  Try to think of an example for each of the listed strategies.

Once you’ve done that, you are ready to think about the other side.  Really strong persuasive arguments always counter the other side.  That means you know what objections the person you are trying to persuade will have, and you know how to cancel their argument.  For example, let’s say you are trying to convince your teacher to give less homework.   You’ve got some good ideas, but you know your teacher will say you need to practice what you learn in class every day.  To persuade her, maybe you say homework allows less time to sleep and you need your rest in order to be alert in class.  Check out “Homework” for a student example that ALMOST convinced me to eliminate homework for my class for a week.

Remember that the person you are trying to convince already has an opinion that is different than yours.  If you are going to convince them, you need to lessen their concerns about your idea.

So let’s say you want to convince your parents to give you a bigger allowance.  Coming up with the reasons why you want it is easy.  What will your parents’ objectons be?  Maybe they will say they don’t have the money, or they got that much when they were your age, or you don’t earn that much.  How can you weaken their arguments?  Maybe you offer to use your allowance to buy some of the things your parents buy now, or you convince them that kids have more expenses nowadays, or you promise to do more chores.  THEN they will listen to you!

You try it!  What is one thing you feel strongly about?  Share your  biggest reason why you want it.  Now tell me what the biggest opposition is.  How can you counter that argument?

On my Kindle:  The Fire Within by Chris D’Lacey

48 responses to “Seeing the Other Side”

  1. Allowance

    Want Allowance: Kids deserve allowance for all the hard work they do.

    Parents: Don’t want to give allowance: If you do chores without a reward, it prepares you for future life, when you won’t get money for doing your own household chores.

    Counter-argument: When you grow up, if you go to work, you will get a reward from working there.

    1. Good point what’s the point of doing something and you don’t get effort for it?

    2. yea stephen that is like so true and also kids who do hard work and deserve allowance will save it up for something special to. I’m on your side stephen

    3. stephen, you are totally right. we work really hard we deserve a reward!

    4. Getting allowance can also show them how responsible you are, right? Responsible with your money?

  2. I feel strongly about the way parents discipline their kids. Why do we even get it? I know how that’s the way you learn the consequences, but parents can just say, “Don’t do it again the next time.” Besides, mostly kids could learn their mistakes on their own.

  3. I think that people should eat at home. I feel strongly about it because it saves money. I want to do it so everyone doesn’t run out of money. People who go out a lot would say it tastes good but it would have a lot of fat because there would be a lot of something so it isn’t healthy sometimes. You would rather eat at home where you can cook something healthy.

  4. I think that Burger King is better than Pizza Hut. I feel strongly that Burger King is a is better because its food tastes better, is less greasy, is served very fast, and has foods that i love. Pizza Hut has one of my favorite foods to, but it is very greasy and unhealthy. You may have to wait ten minutes before you get your order, but the food is very fresh.

    1. You have a lot of reasons here, Dylan. Which is your strongest one?

    2. Aren’t they both unhealthy and have lot of oil and sodium

  5. My topic is school uniforms.
    Having school uniforms at schools are horrible. You always have to dress the same and it looks ugly. However, you will not get made fun of because of your clothes. Everyone has the same clothes and same looks. But no school uniforms are the best. Kids can dress however they want. You don’t get in trouble because of what your wearing. People can just dress nice. Freedom! School uniforms isn’t freedom. It doesn’t matter what you dress if your school has no uniforms. That is my opinion about school uniforms.

    1. Justin, schools who require uniforms claim that it reduces the amount of gang-related activity on campus. Did you think about that?

  6. zoha cochinwala Avatar
    zoha cochinwala

    The topic is homework. My side is no homework. The other side is more homework. I think we should have no homework because we spend six hours in school, why should we have to spend more time at home? Teachers believe we should have more homework because, it helps us understand what we learned in class; however, they can give us practice sheets in class.

    1. I like practice sheets AND homework, but then, I’m tough. 🙂

  7. I think that having an iPhone is awesome because it gets Internet. It tells you everything you want to know. My parents say that I don’t know how it works but I’m already old enough to know how an iPhone works. My old phone is kind of boring. My parents say that my phone is still fine. I became frustrated for them saying it. My phone has scratches because my little brother slammed it in the floor. I whined a little bit. Then they said that I’ll break it. I’m already old enough to know how to fix a phone. I guess my parents are kind of stubborn, but I’ll try hard for getting what I really wish for.

  8. For five years now I have been longing for a dog. My parents think that it takes a lot of responsibility to have a dog. They say I have to train it, feed it, and buy a lot of supplies. I think I DO have responsibility, though. I plan to negotiate with my parents that I will pay for the dog’s resources and I will walk it.

    1. You sound like you have thought this out very maturely. How can you show your parents you are responsible?

  9. PS3 versus Xbox 360. Kids are all having video games, but there is one major fight and that is between the ps3 and the xbox360. Kids all say one is better and another is better. Me: the ps3 has online gameplay, better games, and high quality.

    Friends: Downloads, internet and xbox live, and it has an experience

    1. So your friends say the XBox has downloads, Internert, and XBox Live? PS3 doesn’t have any of that?

  10. STAR testing for private schools

    STAR Testing is something every kid in public schools have to do. I want private schools to have STAR testing too. They don’t have to do it but children from public schools have to do it. I think we should not do it or everyone does the STAR testing. If they are smart because they are in a public school why don’t they do it?

    Because when the private school does it and they say they are smart they could help our state.

    1. You have a good idea, but be careful that your reasoning makes sense. First of all, not all kids in private schools are smart. Secondly, state funding for schools is based on public school attendance. How can private schools help the state by taking the STAR?

  11. My strongest argument is to have no homework. First doing homework wastes paper and wasting papers is wasting trees. Second we are at school for six hours we don’t need more work to do. Lastly if there is no homework we wouldn’t have missing work or bad grades. In conclusion I think kids shouldn’t have homework.

    1. Natalie, I don’t see an opposing argument or a counter.

  12. I feel strongly about allowing phones to every kid. I mean even though parents and teachers think that kids will get addicted, it is also good for emergencies. As kids get older, they go more places either by themselves or with their friends. They should be able to get a hold of someone if something happens. And even though that phones cost a deal of money, kids can communicate without having to use their parents or house phones. And as kids get older and move away, cell phones allow them to keep in touch and not ruin friendship. So all in all i think all kids should have one of these.

    p.s. They are cool!

    1. no opposing argument? How about this: Elementary school kids do not need phones for emergencies because there are phones at school they can use in emerency.

  13. Something I feel strongly about is sharing a room with my YOUNGER sister. My biggest reason why I don’t want to share my room with my sister is that she is a human TORNADO. First of all, she isn’t a very clean person. She plays in OUR room and then when she’s done she just runs off, and I end up cleaning it for her. Second, she has really, really bad habits! One of them is that she wipe her sink after she brushes her teeth, and the effect of that is there is crust and mildew starts to grow! So, when she doesn’t clean it, I end up AGAIN, scrubbing it clean! Last, (even though there are many more arguments!) She TOTALLY takes up way to much space! She gets all these gifts ad presents, and just throws them EVERYWHERE so, I don’t have any space form my things. (like I said, SHE IS A HUMAN TORNADO) This is why, I do not NEED to share a room to with my little sister!

    1. What do your parents say? You did not include an opposing viewpoint as you were asked to do.

  14. School hours

    More school hours: Students can get smarter and with more time to learn, you might have less homework to do.

    Less school hours: You can have more time with family.

    Counter argument: If you go to school, then you can go to a good college and get a good job.

  15. I feel strongly about allowance. My side is for allowance, and the other side is no allowance. Parents don’t want kids to have allowance because they’re not careful enough to keep the money in one place, and not loose it. Actually, kids are very responsible. They listen to parents, and follow their directions so that they don’t loose important objects, like money. Sometimes, parents just wish that kids won’t annoy them anymore. But if parents give kids allowance, they won’t be bothered by kids anymore. Listening to kids sometimes could be a great idea.As you can see, it should be important to give kids allowance. One dollar a day even works perfectly.

  16. My strongest argument is having a cell phone. My strongest reason why is because maybe if you forget your homework, your friend could help you reprint it. It also keep you and your friends in touch. So if you need to call them or text them they could reply. Some parents say you’re not mature enough, but if you weren’t how could we do chores or other work? You keep begging them for a phone but you’re still to young. My parents say you should be in high school in order to have one.

    1. Your strongest argument is that your friend can help you reprint homework if you forget it? Can’t your house phone do that? Why would you pick a reason that shows that you are NOT responsible? 🙁

  17. Brothers

    My topic is brothers. I strongly feel that I should have a brother. The other side, my parents, think that they should not have another child. If I had a brother, I would have a boy to play with and not have to play much with my sisters, girls. My parents believe that they would have more responsibility and less money. ;however, I wouldn’t be the only boy child on the family. I’ll also have someone who understands me instead of girls. But my parents think it will bring more arguments into the house.

  18. Okay I want free time, but my parents won’t give it to me.

    My strongest argument is that if I have free time I won’t get lazy and get really fat and like you can’t move or can’t see your feet.

    My family’s is if I don’t have free time I’ll get really smart and maybe I will like homework. I counter with you can have fun and do your work while having free time as well.

  19. My argument is about allowance. My side is for allowance and my parents side is for none. My biggest argument is I don’t have to ask (My parents will most likely say no) plus also I work hard around the house by cleaning, washing dishes, and cleaning my room. Their biggest opposition is that they want to know where the money is being spent because they think I will just run off and blow through the money in an hour at the mall and come home with bag loads of video games. I’ll counter that by saying that I won’t spend on some random thing, instead I’ll save my money up for something useful.

    1. Great ideas, Mark! Maybe you can suggest putting half the allowance money in savings and half for you to spend. I did that with my sons.

  20. Why do we have to do homework when we are locked up in that prison all day? Teachers say we have to practice what we learn IN SCHOOL. But in opposition, six hours is more than enough. Because we have homework, we can’t play outside, or spend time with family. Some studies even show that homework has no improvement on learning, and our parent and teachers say if you don’t do your homework you’ll grow up stupid, but they’re wrong. Parents lock us in our room and say, “Do you homework!” Does that really help? No, we should be creative and active. That helps the learning process more than homework. Homework doesn’t sound so good anymore, does it?

    1. …prison? 🙁

  21. Piano

    No piano: Kids need to get time in the fresh air and with family.

    Mom: You need to do piano. If you do, you can be a skilled person when you grow up.

    Counter-argument: Some other people have lots of talents like, dancing, singing, acting.

  22. Okay, here’s one from me. Yesterday 14 teachers at my school got layoff notices. I strongly want those teachers to continue teaching at my school.

    My strongest argument: The other three teachers at my grade level have fabulous energy and ideas. We make a great team.

    Strongest opposition: The state is deeply in debt. Teachers, since they are tenured, need to be laid off in the order they were hired.

    My counter: I believe that, like in other industries, talented teachers should be able to be saved.

  23. I feel strongly about pets, especially dogs. I have really wanted a dog for a long time. I try to convince my parents by telling them I am very lonely and don’t have anyone to play with. Plus, I don’t have any siblings. They usually say you can play with your friends, but I know they’re not always free. I promise them I’ll make the pet part of our family, but they just won’t agree. Their biggest objections are that I’m too young to have a pet, it’s to much money, and I am not mature enough. I tell them that I’ll spend some of my allowance money on it. I tell them that most people I know have pets. If I had a pet I would be so thankful. They still don’t agree. I don’t know how else I could convince them.

  24. topic: I want a dog
    My strongest argument: My parents say that they are dirty.

    Strongest opposition: Is that they always say that wait until you’re older and have your own house

    My counter: is that we should have dog because if you do not have a sibling they will be like a sibling

    1. Your strongest argument, the one you use to convince your parents, is that dogs are dirty???? That’s not very convincing. 🙁

  25. cell phones

    How can parents say that we’re to young for them? what happens if you get lost, or miss your ride home? parents should really give kids cell phones that way they can contact them.

  26. Hi
    Its Emma. I love your blog its really great! Thank You for introducing it to me!
    This Post is REALLY good!

    1. Thanks, Emma! I’m glad you enjoyed reading it….now post some of your writing….. 🙂

  27. Hi Mrs. Ulleseit!
    We had our district writing proficiency test recently, and I just found out I got a 4! I chose the persuasive task on the topic of whether 1 hour should be added to school hours or not. Thank you for hammering most of that information on how to do a persuasive essay into my head! Because of you, it wasn’t very hard for my current teacher to teach me how to write an essay. All those hundreds of thousands of hours (that’s what it seemed like) of writing finally paid off. We had only 3 4’s in Mrs. Kim’s class: Helen, Todd, and me. Yay!
    Thank you again!

    Your Former 5th Grade Student

  28. Yay, Priya! I am so proud of you! That’s fantastic. Tell Todd and Helen I’m proud of them, too. Good job!

  29. cats are are the best pet you could ever have because they take their selfs and less grooming and you don’t need to give them a walk. that why cats are the best pet.

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