Richard Miles


Enhancing our Students’ Global Voices

To participate in the global conversation on combating climate change, Japanese university students need to be able to utilize their English language skills across a range of contexts. However, for most, their experience using English is typically limited to the classroom. Therefore, this study seeks to enhance the voice of Japanese university students by first analyzing a series of recent speeches by Swedish climate-change activist Greta Thunberg, transcribed in her book, “No one is too small to make a difference”. Being of a similar age and also speaking in a second language, Thunberg is an ideal public speaker for students to model. This research study consisted of two phases. Initially, a structural analysis of her speeches was conducted, exploring the established organizational frameworks front-loading and back-loading, as well as common message framing techniques attribute framing, goal framing, and loss/gain framing. Secondly, an examination of the persuasive discursive techniques used in her speeches was conducted, focusing on established rhetorical devices such as tripling, bookending, doubling, contrasting, and negative questions. This presentation will document the wide range of techniques (organizational and rhetorical) used by Thunberg and discuss how they can be used by Japanese university students seeking to move beyond generic English language classroom presentations.