To write persuasively requires the development of a logical, coherent argument that will at least challenge the reader to consider the stance that is being presented. If you are an effective persuasive writer, you should be able to develop an argument from a supporting and an opposing stance, irrespective of your own personal viewpoint.
Once students have learned the persuasive writing formula, a great activity is to have them write two essays on the same topic – one from a supporting stance and one from an opposing stance. Using crazy topics is an effective way of making it more fun and taking away the ‘emotional investment’ element as many younger students find this ‘disassociation’ difficult.
Teaching students the art of debating and then having them engage in this activity is also an effective strategy for improving the skills associated with developing a persuasive argument. Again, for maximum impact, give students an opportunity to argue from both stances.