Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Science


Center for the Advancement of Education


Secondary Education, Advanced Placement, Critical Thinking Skills, Language, Rhetoric, Political Campaigns, Propaganda, Emotional Language, Appeal to Reason, Campaign Rhetoric, Election of 1988, Affective Language, Inductive and Deductive Reasoning, Persuasion, Abstractions and Concretions, Denotation and Connotation.


The lack of critical thinking skills in students in an Advanced Placement Language and Composition class was addressed by the implementation of a program which included instruction in: abstractions and concretions, denotation and informative and affective language, tone, deductive and inductive reasoning, the language of persuasion, and political rhetoric. The students researched the rhetoric of the presidential campaign of 1988, and assignments focused on the campaign and the effect of language on the outcome of the election. The subject of tone as an important element in the development of critical consciousness was discussed. Students then proceeded to apply the concept of tone to political rhetoric selected from both political parties. Several good examples of satiric writing were analyzed with concentrations on tone, diction and style. The results were positive, and the students in the target group demonstrated a new awareness of how language affects meaning. Their written analyses improved, and they exhibited a more critical attitude toward language manipulation. It was concluded that this instruction in critical thinking achieved an understanding of the relationship of language to logic and led to the ability to analyze, criticize, and advocate ideas better. This report includes student progress reports, research samplings, and sample assignments.

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