Educational Reform: John Gatto

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John Gatto uses many persuasive techniques to try and convince the reader that the reform of schools is necessary. He begins by including the audience that he is talking to in his ‘speech like’ manner “I accept this award on behalf of all of the fine teachers I’ve known over the years” this establishes personal contact with the audience and develops an appropriate register, therefore persuading them to agree with any further comments that he makes. To further support this, the writer goes on to suggest that teachers are not the problem, as he sees it, but school as an institution “although teachers do care and do work very hard, the institution they work in is psychopathic”. The writer uses the present tense throughout the entire article to highlight the immediacy of the situation and convince the reader that reform is needed. Gatto’s use of repetition of words like “useless” and “absurd” are used part way through the text in order to not only make a more forceful point, but also to emphasise the way that he feels. By repeating these negatively charged words he is attempting to influence the way reader would feel about education, therefore persuading them that reform is a necessity. He establishes the idea that reform is necessary with use of a rhetorical question “What can be done?” to not only guide the reader towards a solution but also to indicate that he will be offering a solution that the reader will agree with. Gatto uses the structure of short sentences in order to develop his argument and focus on key points, almost like a list – a way of simplifying his ideas. A single short sentence is further used “ Schools are intended to produce formulaic human beings whose behaviour can be predicted and controlled.” to enhance the writer’s view about schools, therefore strengthening his argument and persuading his readership to agree that reform is wholly necessary. The use of the word ‘intended’ coupled with ‘formulaic, predicted and controlled’ to describe how...
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