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Teaching Emotive Language Critical Essay

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Updated: Jun 4th, 2019


Regardless of the audiences, public speakers and writers use “some form of emotive language to grab the attention of the listeners” (Carnine, 2007, p. 347). The speakers use captivating words like “tyranny” and “savagery” to trigger a reaction from the audience. The primary objective of using emotive language is to elicit an emotional response, thus making the audience more amenable to what is being said.

Humans have a tendency to endorse or censure things based on emotional attachment. Thus, for one to win the approval of the audience, they have to be calculative in choosing their words. Besides, the speakers have to be cautious of the connotation. They have to avoid using ambiguous words that the audience might misconstrue and result in squabbles.

Summary of Observation Notes

The tone plays a significant role in emotive language. The tone of the speaker determines the level of attention of the audience. Tone entails numerous factors that include pitch and the speed of the speaker’s voice. Tone does not “necessarily correlate to the message, and if the speaker is not careful, their delivery can result in a confused audience” (Carnine, 2007, p. 349).

Debbie O’Connell’s tone is apposite for the target audience. She uses a low tone and does not shout to the audience. Such a tone does not startle the learners, therefore ensuring that they pay attention. Apart from using a low tone, the teacher does not speak very fast. O’Connell uses a moderate pace when talking to the learners. The primary objective of using an average speed is to ensure that the learners get every word that comes from her mouth.

With such a rhythm, it is easy for the students to understand what the instructor is saying as well as internalize it. To stir the emotions of the audience, a speaker has to demonstrate confidence and be friendly. O’Connell exudes a lot of confidence in what she is saying. Her voice and pronunciation are clear, therefore ensuring that the students understand everything that she teaches. Besides, she does not use sarcastic terms or phrases that might confuse the learners.

Word choice is of great importance in emotive language. Speakers must choose words that are easy to understand and attract attention (Carnine, 2007). The speakers must ensure that they use words with favorable connotation. O’Connell uses words that are not only easy to comprehend but also have favorable connotation.

For instance, she uses the term “jagged” to describe the nature of the rocks. The word helps the learners to visualize and understand the environment or the habitat of the lion. Besides, she uses the term “innocent” when describing the cab as a way to evoke sympathy. By using the term “innocent”, she manages to trigger the emotions of the learners and make them commiserate with the cab.

In so doing, the students understand the meaning of a sentence. Speakers are supposed to use words that communicate a feeling. For instance, O’Connell uses the phrase “staring hungrily” to signify the strong attachment between the lion and its cab. In return, the students can figure out why a lion guards its cabs fiercely.

Nonverbal communication like gestures is vital in emotive language. Gestures not only help to keep students attentive but also understand what the instructor is teaching (Kinnucan-Welsch, 2007). Debbie uses gestures to describe the nature of rocks as well as the lion. The gestures act as a teaching aid to make the learners understand. Debbie pauses as she reads the sentence to allow the students understand how they can use better words to make a sentence understandable.

By the time she finishes the lesson, the students can identify the ordinary words that if replaced may lead to an appealing sentence. The students apply the thinking aloud technique that enables them to follow what the teacher is saying and understand. The primary objective of the lesson is to help learners understand the importance of replacing ordinary words in a sentence with better words. Moreover, the teaching aims at nurturing creativity in students by inspiring their imagination.


From O’Connell’s video, it is clear that for one to give instructions effectively, they must adhere to certain principles. One has to purge all possible interruptions that might distract the audience. Besides, it is imperative to maintain eye contact when giving instructions. Maintaining eye contact helps to ensure that the audience remains attentive. Failure to maintain eye contact may lead to the audience not taking you seriously, therefore ignoring whatever you are saying.

The use of a firm voice makes the audience pay attention. A speaker should not use a commanding or shrill voice. Instead, the voice should be appealing to the listeners. One should be clear about what they want the listener to do. O’Connell is not only clear about the objective of the lesson but also uses an appealing voice and maintains eye contact with the students.

When asking questions, one should ensure that they do not use ambiguous words. The use of words with unfavorable connotation may attract negative answers or confuse a student. Hence, a question should be clear and well structured. A well-structured problem is easy to understand and answer.

Summary of Year 5 Class Activity

Direct Instruction

The class activity entails investigating the idea of probability using marbles. The teacher places a box in front of the class and fills it with marbles of different colors. The teacher instructs one of the students to shake the box to ensure that the marbles get mixed up. The objective of shaking the box is to make sure that no marbles of the same color are close to one another. It increases the chance of picking marbles of different colors every time the students dip their hands into the box.

In the beginning, the students mix a small number of marbles of each color. The teacher ensures that the students do not put the same number of marbles of each color into the box. After finishing the first experiment, the teacher instructs the students to increase the number of marbles of each color and repeat the experiment.

The teacher assists the students to represent the probability of picking a marble of each color on a line. Besides, the students are asked to express the probability as percentages and fractions. After determining the probabilities, the students are requested to create column graphs and pie charts to represent the different possibilities.

Purpose of Direct Instruction

The primary objective of the direct instruction is to help students understand the likelihood of a particular event happening. Students encounter dilemmas in their daily life. In an event where a student has to choose between multiple options, it becomes difficult to make a viable choice. Having the knowledge of probability may go a long way towards helping a student to weigh between the existing options.

Therefore, the objective of the direct instructions is to equip learners with skills in how to assess the possible repercussions of their decisions. Besides, the direct instructions aim at helping the students to learn how to express probabilities as percentages or fractions as well as interpret them. Students are asked to draw pie charts and column graphs to help in determining which type of marbles was dominant in the box. Besides, the students learn how to interpret probabilities using graphs and pie charts.

Monitoring the Response of Students

Teachers can tell if students have understood a concept by giving them simple exercises. A teacher is not supposed to introduce a new concept if a majority of the learners are not conversant with a previous theory. To know whether students have understood an activity, it is imperative to let them practice the exercise under supervision.

Therefore, to monitor the response of the students, the instructor will ask the students to complete a class work that entails determining the probability of picking marbles of distinct colors. Besides, the teacher will give the students different possibilities and ask them to create column graphs and pie charts. Later, the students will interpret the graphs and pie charts to determine if they have understood the concept. The teacher will be keen to determine the accuracy of the answers that the students give.

Research indicates that new “behaviors are learned most rapidly when correct responses are immediately reinforced, and incorrect responses are eliminated” (Baumann, 2005, p. 95). Consequently, the teacher will help learners to identify their mistakes and make the necessary adjustments.

Assumptions about Teaching

A teacher’s or student’s assumptions about teaching contribute to the success of a coursework. Both teachers and pupils have assumptions that they believe if upheld would facilitate the creation of a favorable learning environment (Baumann, 2005). Prior to this semester, students had many assumptions about teachings. While some of the assumptions were right, others were wistful and hard to accomplish or implement.

One of the assumptions that were uncovered during this semester is the perception that hands-on experience amounts to effective teaching. There is no doubt that hands-on experience is an integral constituent of effective teaching. Nevertheless, it is important to note that experience cannot work alone (Emerson, 2014).

The semester confirmed the importance of encouraging students to think aloud and use imagination. Students should use the experience gained in class to enhance the knowledge by articulating their thinking. The knowledge acquired during the semester confirmed that students cannot rely on experience alone. Instead, they ought to reflect on the experience and develop skills.

As a teacher, one is supposed to train students in how to make good use of the experience they acquire both in class and outside. They can do this by establishing a participatory environment that challenges students to think (Emerson, 2014). Some teaching guides discuss the concept of the habit of mind.

The guides emphasize the importance of pupils using facts to substantiate their claims. In other words, the experience that students gain in class should help to develop their creativity. The activities of this semester confirmed the importance of going beyond hands-on and emphasizing on a “minds-on” way of teaching.

The second assumption that was uncovered during the semester is the notion that a teacher should never leave students to fend for themselves. Previously, a majority of learners assumed that teaching entails a teacher helping students in everything that they do (Garrison, 2006). The assumption may hold in some instances. However, it is imperative to allow students to work independently as this instills creativity and confidence.

A teacher should only monitor the students and help them when necessary. Failure to let the students fend for them may hamper the capacity to assume responsibilities in future (Garrison, 2006). The activities of the semester revealed that students cannot take responsibility for their studies if they are not given time to work independently.

Therefore, teachers should come up with a program that enables them to “carefully and gradually release responsibilities to the students when they are ready” (Giannakidou, 2006, p. 578). The activities confirmed the importance of allowing students to operate independently.

The success of learning and teaching environment depends on the abilities of the teacher. Much of what “the teacher does is not instantly apparent to those who think that education involves an adult doing most of the talking at quiet students” (Hess, 2009, p. 452). Encouraging students to do research independently goes a long way towards enhancing teaching.

For effective teaching, a teacher should be well-informed, considerate, and intentional. Moreover, teachers should work with learners and delegate responsibilities to students based on their capabilities. In other words, effective teaching comprises delegating duties to pupils in a gradual manner.

The third assumption that was uncovered during the semester is the opinion that an effective teaching involves covering the entire coursework. Most teachers believe that for students to learn, they must cover the entire syllabus. There is no problem in covering the curriculum or sharing as much information as possible with students. However, a teacher is not assured that the students will understand all that is covered.

Mostly, students tend to forget if they are fed with a lot of information (Pressley, Johnson, Symons, McGoldrick, & Kurita, 2004). A lasting teaching does not entail sharing a lot of information with learners. Instead, it comprises breaking the information into parts and sharing it bit by bit. Covering a lot of content can “result in students missing the main ideas, trying to memorize everything and recalling little after the test” (Pressley et al., 2004, p. 23). The assumption that effective teaching entails finishing the syllabus is wrong.

Rather than covering the entire syllabus, a teacher should focus on the key concepts that students need to learn. Besides, the teacher should identify the various abilities related to those concepts. They should use simple words to explain the concepts or come up with relevant examples. The semester confirmed the importance of intensive teaching.


Teaching emotive language entails selecting words that stir the emotions of the students. Moreover, it requires encouraging the learners to think aloud and be creative. The success of teaching emotive language lies in the ability to select words that are not only easy to understand but also trigger the imagination. The primary objective of using emotive language is to draw the attention of the students. A teacher has to use words with favorable connotation to avoid misunderstandings.


Baumann, J. (2005). The effectiveness of a direct instruction paradigm for teaching main idea comprehension. Reading Research Quarterly, 20(2), 93-108.

Carnine, D. (2007). Diverse learners and prevailing, emerging and research-based educational approaches and their tools. School Psychology Review, 23(2), 341-350.

Emerson, G. (2014). Ten common assumptions about teaching: Reflections on Taylor and Miller. Canadian Journal of Education, 11(1), 9-19.

Garrison, D. (2006). A cognitive constructivist view of distance education: An analysis of teaching-learning assumptions. Distance Education, 14(2), 199-211.

Giannakidou, A. (2006). Only, emotive factive verbs, and dual nature of polarity dependency. Language, 82(3), 575-603.

Hess, F. (2009). Revitalizing teacher education by revisiting our assumptions about teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 60(5), 450-457.

Kinnucan-Welsch, K. (2007). Challenging assumptions about teaching and learning: Three case studies in constructivist pedagogy. Teaching and Teacher Education, 14(4), 413-427.

Pressley, M., Johnson, C., Symons, S., McGoldrick, J., & Kurita, J. (2004). Strategies that improve children’s memory and comprehension of text. The Elementary School Journal, 90(1), 3-32.

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