Reflect on the collaborative process of the annotated bibliography as well as on the inquiry essay
Transition to argument
Understand the differences in the rhetorical situations of reporting/explaining inquiry and arguing an issue
Attendance and introduction (2-3 minutes)
Assign a post-script and collect student work (10 minutes)
Prompt students to reflect on the Annotated Bibliography assignment by giving them postscript questions to answer. Collect the postscripts along with annotations, sources, and the Inquiry Essay. Here are some sample postscript questions:
Did you find the answers you set out to find? Why/why not?
Are you satisfied with what answers you did find? Why/why not?
What did your group do to find a range of perspectives on your subject?
Have you ever worked collaboratively before? How did you group members approach the merger of annotations?
How did you approach your inquiry essay?
Is there anything else you would like me to know as I read your work?
Transition to argument (10-15 minutes)
Now that students have inquired, they are ready to write arguments. Because of the research and questions generated by the inquiries, students have many options. They can use any of their group members’ sources to write an argument about their inquiry subject, or they can use another group’s research to write an argument about another topic and issue, or they can draw from several inquiries to write an argument about an issue that is relevant to more than one inquiry.
It’s important that students understand that they will be working within a new writing situation, which means that their argument should “feel” different from their Inquiry Essay (sometimes students say “it feels like I’m writing the same paper” when they write an argument about a topic they have just explained; it shouldn’t).
Show the differences in writing situations by prompting students to describe the writing situation for the Inquiry Essay and then asking how it might be different in an argument. You might end up with a two-column list like this:
Writer: peer, familiar individual
Writer: individual reader doesn't know
Purpose: explain issue
Purpose: convince others
Audience: this class
Audience: wider academic community
Text: Forum post
Text: MLA-style academic paper
Subject: your inquiry question
Subject: individual stance
Distribute and discuss assignment sheet for Assignment #4: Academic Argument, Adding Your Voice to the Conversation (10-15 minutes)
At the end of the inquiry essay, students presented a tentative thesis statement in preparation for this argument. However, before students decide upon a subject for the argument essay, they need to understand the assignment itself. Distribute the assignment sheet and discuss it in the way your class has become accustomed to. Be sure to allow time for students to ask questions.
Distribute and discuss conference sign-up sheet (15-20 minutes)
You will need to allow some time to prepare students for individual conferences. You’ll need to explain and schedule conferences. Also your students need to see an example of the conference dialogue sheet so they understand what they need to prepare for a fruitful conference.
Explain to students that they will not meet for class on the Tuesday of Week 10 (or other class you'll forgo for conference time) but instead they will meet you for a 10-15 minute conference at your office to discuss the transition from inquiry to academic argument. Send around a sign-up sheet that has at least a few more conference times than you have students. When you create this sheet, remember to leave yourself a few breaks here and there. Even though you will cancel Tuesday’s class in order to hold conferences, you can spread conferences out over Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
Conference Dialogue Sheet (10-20 minutes)
To prepare for next week’s conferences, distribute the conference dialogue sheet and have students interview each other in order to begin formulating ideas to be discussed in conference. This will allow students to see where they need to fill in gaps over the weekend in order to prepare for a fruitful conference:
Conference Dialogue Worksheet
1) What question did you begin with and how has it changed? (You should be prepared for this section of the dialogue, since most of these questions were answered in your Inquiry Essay)
What was your inquiry subject?
Why were you interested in researching this question?
What prior knowledge or experience do you have with this issue?
Where/how did you get your knowledge (e.g., reading, word-of-mouth, school, church, etc.)?
What was your position on this question at the beginning of your inquiry?
2) Summarize the various arguments and/or opinions you discovered during your research.
What are the different ways of expressing the problems within your issue
What are some of the ways of addressing the problems in your issue?
Are some of the ways of expressing the issue at odds?
Are some of the ways of addressing the problem at odds?
3) What have you found out about the context of this issue? In other words,
Who else is interested in or affected by this issue?
Who would you single out as the most important stakeholders in the issue?
What kinds of publications are addressing this issue?
Which academic disciplines are researching this issue?
Which local experts might serve as effective sources for your argument? What gives them credibility?
4) Transitioning to Argument
What is your current position on the issue (i.e., your claim)?
Why is this position right now?
Did your inquiry lead you here logically?
Who needs to hear your claim?
Who will disagree with your claim?
Considering your potential audience, will they agree with your claim; will they disagree with your claim; will they be ambivalent or uninformed about your claim?
Considering your claim and your potential audience, are there any identifiable gaps in your research that you may need to fill?
Conclude Class and Explain Conference Expectations (3-5 minutes)
Next week we will conference individually in my office for about 15 minutes to talk about your transition from inquiry to argument. Monday’s class will be canceled in lieu of these conferences, though we won’t be able to do all of the conferences on one day. Please write down the conference day and time you signed up for, as well as my office number, so that you are on time and prepared for our discussion. Missing a conference will result in a class absence.
Homework for Week 10 (next week is the shift from daily plans to weekly plans, so be sure to adjust homework accordingly in your own daily plans and agenda).
Prepare conference dialogue worksheet for your scheduled conference. Once again, remind students of your expectations for conference and any consequences there may be for missing the conference or being late.
Read Deborah Tannen’s “Argument Culture” in PHG on pages 474-480. Be ready on Wednesday to talk about Tannen’s definition of “argument” and how it does or doesn’t coincide with your own pre-conceived ideas about argument.
Read about argument and claims on pages 509-516 of PHG. Decide what kind of claim your tentative thesis from the inquiry essay (and the conference) is and if it would work better as a different kind of claim. Write out several versions and types of claims for your argument. Bring your claims and your PHG to class.