The Rhetoric of the Teacher’s Authority

Rhetoric and Argumentation

Janja Žmavc

Educational Research Institute, Slovenia

Abstract: In the article, we explore the points of contact between pedagogical authority and rhetoric as a special form of language use in the pedagogical process. Drawing on the relational conceptions of authority, we emphasise its rhetorical nature and point out the need to be aware of the close connection between rhetoric as a skill of public persuasion and the successful enacting of the authority relationship in the pedagogical process. On the basis of the general conceptualization of rhetoric, which defines the process of persuasion as a reciprocal relationship between the speaker and the listeners, we present a scheme of rhetorical construction of pedagogical authority based on the understanding of authority as a complex process that is established in the teacher – student interaction and consists of three elements: an effective demonstration of a speaker’s trustworthy image, (ethos), a successful (discursive) response to the emotional states of the audience (pathos), and use of sound and valid argumentation (logos) in speech.

Keywords: authority, education, rhetoric, trustworthiness, means of persuasion.

Rhetoric and Communications Journal, issue 49, October 2021

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