Audience and Exigence (Katie Bullock)

Lesson Prep

Objective: 1) Introduce GRAPE 2) Introduce audience and exigence 3) Enable students to recognize different audiences and perform audience analysis. Introduce them to exigence.

Materials needed: Op-Eds for homework, video clips, personal examples and stories to go along with audience and exigency

Assessment: class discussion and activities/homework assignment/intro to next class period


Lesson Presentation

Previous lesson/Homework: Genre/draft a plan for their op-ed/start a rough draft   

Rush Write:  Describe a time where you went to an event and you felt like the performance or the speaker or event was just for you. Why did you feel that way?

Write, pair, share


Prepare For Learning:

Two of the reasons that you may have felt that way are audience and exigence. The rhetor, or the performer/speaker, specifically targeted you as an audience. Their message or performance was, in some way, tailored to you. Second, there were circumstances surrounding you that made you particularly susceptible to the message or performance. The circumstances surrounding a message or performance is called “exigence.” Today we will be discussing both of those terms in depth. 


Guided Learning:

Today we are going to do something similar to what we did last week – a type of audience analysis. I’m going to play several clips, and I want you to write down as much about the audience as you can think of for each clip.

Have students share what they wrote. These audiences that you identified can be defined as your “primary audience”  

Now, think back to some of the clips we watched. Who else might interact with them? These people are secondary audiences. Even though they aren’t the primary audience, they can still come in contact with the message. Was there something in any of the clips that you think was still approachable for the secondary audience?

Being able to identify your audience for your op-ed is imperative to your success. Let’s practice identifying some of your audiences.

Have a student give their topic and work with the class to identify primary and secondary audiences. Do this two or three times.

Next, have the students get into pairs and brainstorm primary and secondary topics for their op-eds. List the characteristics of their audience. This should be very thorough. Have them think about the backgrounds of their audience, reasons their audience may or may not agree with their op-ed stance, age, education level, gender, race, economic status, family relationships, tragedies or life circumstances of your audience, etc.

Discuss what they learned as a class.



Next, talk about exigence. Exigence is an event, disruption, or set of circumstances that calls for a response (read out of Mindful Writing.)

Think of a tweet, post, snap, or text that you responded to. Why did you do it, what did you want from it, and what was the outcome? Discuss as a class.

Talk about how good writers are aware of these moments in life where they can do or say something that will, hopefully, create some kind of effect.

Ask the class “Why did you pick your topic?”

Give an example of what I would write my op-ed on and how I came up with it (writing about the humanity of people because of my car air conditioning situation)

Again, have new students share their op-ed topic. Discuss as a class what some of the exigencies might be about their topic. After repeating this exercise a couple times, have them get with a partner and discuss the exigencies of their op-eds



Add to your plan for your op-ed. You should have rough drafts of your writing, a plan for how you will adhere to the genre, and a defined primary and secondary audience. You should have a defined exigency and a reason that you are writing about your topic. Read the op-eds assigned for homework