2023 Summer - Rhetoric for Life and Leadership (Harvard) for Middle School

Our world is legislated with sentences and paragraphs. We debate with language, we worship with words, we teach by talking, and we conduct trials, town meetings, and neighborhood associations with dialogue and persuasion. This class will teach rhetoric with use of Harvard-made learning materials. 

What is rhetoric? 

"Properly conceived, rhetoric—which embraces both written composition and public speaking—is not some hired gun, some way to persuade no matter what. It’s a practice—both systematic and artful—that asks us to consider questions of value, of right or wrong, guilt or innocence, knowing or ignorance. Good writing and speaking prompt us to consider these questions through ethical and sincere self-awareness, not only of our own views, but also of the views of those with whom we might disagree, even if we disagree strongly. Good rhetoric lives in the civic bedrock of democracy and social discourse, in the foundations of any organization or society that wants to hear the views of all of its members in order to decide how to act." 

- Professor Engell, Harvard English Professor.


We will study the great speeches of America to learn how to construct and defend arguments. Through this analysis, we will discover how speakers and writers persuade their audience. This skill is a power. It is essential to success in academic, professional, and public settings.


Module 1 - Introduction to Written Rhetoric

Module 2 - Civil Rights - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Module 3 - Gun Control - Sarah Brady and Charlton Heston 

Module 4 - Introduction to Spoken Rhetoric

Module 5 - The Red Scare - Joseph McCarthy and Margaret Chase Smith

Module 6 - Presidential Rhetoric - JFK and Ronald Reagan

Module 7 - Conclusion


Op-Ed - 300-600 word article expressing an opinion or proposal

Speech Final Draft - 4-5 minute speech supporting a social cause you are passionate about 

Speech - Presentation in front of audience or parents depending on comfort level

Alannah Zhou

Alannah Zhou has travelled and collected speech/debate awards around the world. She claimed 3rd best debater in the world when competing at WSC Melbourne global round 2018. Alannah has seen firsthand how presenting oneself strongly projects into more powerful positions and higher respect. Now she is passionate about helping students find the power in their own voice.


Enrollment Status






Max Enrollment



August 7, 2023 – August 17, 2023


Every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
02:00 pm EST – 03:30 pm EST


Receive a $10 discount when you register it with another class.




8 Classes, 2 weeks, No class on 8/11

Price: $200

Course Closed for Registration