examine and practice strategies for effectively appealing to readers,
practice recognizing and avoiding logical fallacies,
engage in peer response to argument drafts.
Connection to Course Goals
Students learn about how to make rhetorical choices that will help them achieve their purposes with their audiences. Workshop sessions encourage students to see their writing as a process by promoting critical thinking and revision. Gaining peer feedback helps remind students to keep their audience in mind while writing.
Connection to Students’ Own Writing
By drawing on previous writing experiences and using their own topics to think about audience appeals, students gather ideas to apply to their academic arguments. In the peer response workshop, students have the opportunity to get several readings of their drafts while they consider their peers’ rhetorical choices.
Check in: drafting (5-7 minutes)
Ask students about how drafts are coming along. Address any concerns or questions while encouraging students to share strategies that are working well for them. Remind students of what you’ve already talked about in class: how to remain focused on a claim and how to develop a claim with reasons and evidence.
Analyze “The Damnation of a Canyon” (15-20 minutes)
Start with what students already know about argument, prompting them with questions about what Abbey says, such as:
What is Abbey’s claim?
What are his reasons?
What kinds of evidence did he use?
What is his purpose?
To whom is he writing?
Move the students into a discussion of how Abbey says what he says by adding in questions such as:
Did he seem credible?
Was he too emotional?
Did he get you to care about his argument?
Did he provide enough reasons and evidence to convince you to agree with him?
Introduce Audience Appeals (12-15 minutes)
Present the following on an overhead transparency. As you present each type of appeal, ask students for ideas about how they can use the appeal in their papers. Also ask for examples of how Abbey uses each kind of appeal. You might also discuss how context influences the use of appeals. Ask students to consider how authors they've read--Pollan, of their sources, of PHG readings, etc--used appeals. This could lead to a discussion of the use of appeals in academic contexts, emphasizing the privileging of appeals to logos and ethos over appeals to pathos in academic discourse.
On the board, keep a list of ideas for each appeal. Give students time to jot down ideas for their own arguments on their drafts.
Appealing to your audience means using language and presenting your argument in deliberate ways, so that you have a good chance of achieving your goals with as many members of your audience as possible. Appropriately used appeals help support your claim.
Appeals to Character (Ethos): Showing that you are a reliable, trustworthy person can help give your readers confidence in your argument. Establishing common ground with your readers can make them more likely to agree with your ideas.
Appeals to Emotion (Pathos): Getting readers emotionally involved can increase the likelihood that they will feel that your argument is important. If emotional appeals are used in place of credibility or logical reasoning, however, they can make readers feel as though you are trying to manipulate them or that you have something to hide.
Appeals to Logic (Logos): Since most all of your readers will value logical reasoning quite highly and will have very similar ideas about what is and isn’t reasonable, it is important to provide sufficient evidence to support enough good reasons to support your claim. Additionally, it is important that you explain how the reasons support the claim, how the evidence supports the reasons, and how the pieces of evidence relate to each other.
Logical Fallacy Activity (20-25 minutes)
Be sure that students understand how to write logically: present enough support for your claim, and explain it thoroughly.
Next, point out that there are common logical errors, or logical fallacies (distortions of rhetoric to make an argument seem more convincing). Fallacies happen when a writer manipulates a reader’s emotions, when a writer misrepresents someone’s character, and when a writer distorts an argument’s logic. Sometimes fallacies are intentional (as is often the case in political speeches and in advertising) and sometimes they aren’t. In either case, they can weaken an argument.
Students should be aware of common types of fallacies, so they can avoid them as they make their own arguments and so that they can identify them in opposing arguments (thus making the opposing arguments easier to refute).
There are many options for a logical fallacies activity; here is one:
Ask students to use pages 532-535 in their textbooks to identify fallacious statements you put up on the overhead projector one at a time. Here are a few examples; be sure to create more of your own (8-10 work well):
From pages 532-533:
Vegetarianism is just a naïve, urban idea. [Genetic fallacy]
Johnny ate a happy meal for dinner every day until he was 12. Now he has diabetes. [Post hoc ergo propter hoc]
From pages 534-535
Taxing junk food would be un-American. [Ad Populum]
If a person refuses to wear fur, they must also refuse to wear leather. [Faulty comparison]
Next, ask students to create their own examples of fallacies. Call on a student to share a fallacy and then ask the class to identify it. Encourage students to use their own argument topics, so they can become aware of possible fallacies to look for in opposing arguments as well as ones to avoid while drafting.
Academic argument draft workshop (60-65 minutes)
Design a workshop activity that will enable students to read and respond to at least two drafts in the allotted time. Use the workshop activity bank in the syllabus appendix for ideas, keeping in mind that the workshop activity should reflect the assignment sheet, grading criteria and classroom instruction. Also, remember that the goal of workshop need not be for students to “pre-grade” others’ papers.
Discuss revision strategies and conclude class (7-10 minutes)
Students’ will revise these drafts of the paper, so talk for a few minutes about how they might do that. You can share some of your own revision strategies and/or ask students to share some of their own. Remind students that revision means more than proofreading.
Finish drafting your argument essay. Bring 2 copies to class for workshop. [Add a reminder of your workshop policy here.]
Read about revising arguments on pages 530-532 of the PHG.
Use your workshop feedback as you revise your argument. Consider going to the Writing Center for further revision ideas [add Writing Center hours here].
Prepare your argument to turn in next time, along with your process work.