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Lesson Plan

Propaganda Techniques in Literature and Online Political Ads

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Propaganda Techniques in Literature and Online Political Ads

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Junius Wright

Junius Wright

Charleston, South Carolina


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



After reading or viewing a text, students are introduced to propaganda techniques and then identify examples in the text. Students discuss these examples, and then explore the use of propaganda in popular culture by looking at examples in the media. Students identify examples of propaganda techniques used in clips of online political advertisements and explain how the techniques are used to persuade voters. Next, students explore the similarities of the propaganda techniques used in the literary text and in the online political ads to explain the commentary the text is making about contemporary society. Finally, students write a persuasive essay in support of a given statement.

In this lesson, some specific references are made to Brave New World as examples. A text list suggests additional novels, short stories, plays, and movies that will also work for this activity.

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  • Literature Featuring Propaganda Techniques and Themes: This booklist provides lists of novels, short stories, plays, and movies that can be used in lessons about propaganda.
  • Persuasion Map: Use this online tool to map out and print your persuasive argument. Included are spaces to map out your thesis, three reasons, and supporting details.
  • Persuasive Writing Scoring Guide: Use this reproducible rubric to assess the focus; organization; sentence fluency and word choice; and conventions of persuasive writing assignments.

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In the NCTE publication Lesson Plans for Creating Media-Rich Classrooms, editor Scott Sullivan notes that by "making students aware of the ways information is used and manipulated, we allow them to begin making wiser, more informed choices" (176). Students benefit doubly, then, by studying the concept of propaganda in a traditional literary context and in real-world applications pulled from multimedia sources. Their understanding of the literary text is enriched and enhanced and they are encouraged to "become more informed and conscientious citizens" (174). In this lesson, which encourages students to explore "the intrinsic relationships between content, product [or candidate], and profit [or power], they begin to see that what may once have seemed an objective enterprise [a political campaign] is, in fact, subject to a variety of influences, some subtle, some not" (175).

Further Reading

Christel, Mary, and Scott Sullivan, eds. 2007. Lesson Plans for Creating Media-Rich Classrooms. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

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