Unit Three: Section by Section Goals to Keep in Mind
The goal of classes 20-23 is to introduce students to the basics of Academic Argument and to generate possible topics within the field of education. Some goals to keep in mind:
- We're showing the first steps of responding to the context of academic argument by:
- Emphasizing the importance of understanding an overall issue and the various positions people take within that issue.
- Ethos(credibility) is an important part of the context of academic argument and a key way to establish ethos is demonstrating your understanding of the whole issue.
- Showing that the expectations of academic argument are different than other forms of argument. For example, you might just argue your side in a personal argument with a friend, and you wouldn't necessarily try to understand the whole picture before making your argument, but an effective academic argument requires this background knowledge before making a claim of your own.
- To show them as a wide a rage of education-related topics as possible in order to emphasize pre-writing in terms of narrowing and focusing to a specific issue.
The goal of classes 23 to 26 is to prepare students for the Position Analysis assignment. Through the following days, we want them to be able to:
- Recognize the complexity of positions beyond a simple "pro" or "con" stance
- To realize that people hold positions for different contextual reasons, including one's personal background (gender, race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, class), professional experience, etc. As writers, they need to understand those reasons to argue persuasively to each audience
- Also, help them to recognize that writers do not always use the "buzzwords" of many topics, such as "multiculturalism" to announce the issue they are discussing. They may have to dig a little without the essay announcing its purpose/issue.
The last class meetings of the course should concentrate on getting them through preparing, drafting, and revising Essay 4. Here are some goals to keep in mind:
- Keep highlighting focus! It's so easy for students to stray into a variety of topics, especially since:
- We are stressing the complexity of the issues involved
- This will be the longest paper most of them have ever had to write, and they will find it very hard to believe they will make the page requirement with a sufficiently narrow focus.
- Often students get frustrated when they feel they have focused their essay. For example, s/he may have spent days discerning that they want to focus on "standardized testing", which is certainly narrowing things down from the vast field of topics they could discuss. But they still want to refine this a bit more, by narrowing the topic to "standardized testing at the secondary level", for example.
- They should learn to use modes of development appropriate to certain types of claims. For example, if you're going to make a claim of value, such as "Bullfighting is a barbaric sport and must be stopped", you will need criteria to support this claim (i.e., to define "barbaric" in your terms for the essay).