Use this week to finish any work that students need to accomplish before turning in their academic argument. Determine which activities would be most helpful for your students to complete: discussing sample arguments, taking part in an extra peer workshop, or conferencing with you. Additionally, we cover fallacies this week so that students may avoid making dishonest or illogical points as they attempt to write persuasive appeals.
Please remember to provide lesson and course connections each class day and to introduce and conclude your lessons along with providing transitions between activities.
Begin by defining what an argumentative fallacy is (a distortion of rhetoric to make an argument seem more convincing). Fallacies happen when a writer/speaker manipulates a reader's emotions; or, when a writer/speaker misrepresents someone's character; or, when a writer/speaker distorts an argument's logic. In essence, a fallacy is a dishonest or illogical appeal. Fallacies are commonly found in advertisements and in political debates. Tell students that they should avoid fallacies in their arguments. They may also use their understanding of fallacies to refute untruthful or problematic opposing arguments.
Choose from the following activities:
To complete this activity, students should have read one or two student sample arguments for homework. Take some time to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each sample argument students have read. To make this discussion even more effective, have students evaluate each essay based on the criteria you will use to evaluate their arguments. You might conduct this as a group activity or a whole class discussion. If you discuss the essays as a whole class, it's useful to have copies of them on an overhead. As students evaluate each part of an essay, you can write out their observations on the overhead draft.
** Note: Sometimes students will really tear into a piece of writing (i.e. "I thought the introduction really sucked.") This type of feedback only adds to the anxiety that other students have when it comes to sharing their work. Therefore, you might encourage students to offer suggestions for how to improve the sample drafts, rather than simply pointing out what is wrong. Also, try to encourage them to focus on an essay's strengths.