What they'll do today in class:
- Quickly review summary with Schor
- Practice analysis of organization with Schor essay
- Introduce focus and how to decide what to focus on
Connection to course goals: Practicing the skills of summary and analysis again shows students the need to meet the expectations of the context. They can also see the ability to make choices within that context because we focus on a different aspect of an essay this time (organization).
- To begin, let's quickly summarize the main ideas of the Schor essay.
(NOTE: You'll probably just want to do this as a large class discussion and list the ideas on the board. Hopefully, they'll have the hang of summary by this point so it will come a little easier.)
MAIN IDEAS OF SCHOR ESSAY:
Let's again practice analysis, but with this essay we'll focus on organization.
To do that, we'll do what's called a "backwards outline." That is, we'll work off of the finished essay and "outline" what each section is doing in terms of the overall purpose.
- The amount of time Americans spend at work is increasing because of "key incentive structures" in capitalism. This has created a crisis of leisure time.
- We're moving in the opposite direction of European nations.
- The "productivity dividend" is controlled by the companies - workers can't control how they spend their work hours.
- It's not a visible societal debate anymore - unions aren't fighting for less hours
- Bad for both workers and in the home. Men vs. women.
- This crisis has certain ill effects - stress, health, less sleep, family problems, marriage problems, and MOST IMPORTANT - the effect on childbearing.
- Understanding this problem can help bring change.
When you're filling out the first column on the worksheet, feel free to "group" paragraphs together if they accomplish the same purpose and make the same point.
When you're filling out column 2, just try to give a quick summary of what's said…we're not looking for academic here.
For section 3, look for various parts of an essay that we've seen so far - is this section making a main point? Providing evidence? Getting the reader's attention? What does it do for the reader?
- Group activity.
- (see the appendix for backwards outline worksheet)
- In your groups, complete a "backwards outline" of the Schor essay based on the following guidelines.
- (NOTE: You may want to start the various groups at different points in the essay to ensure that you'll be able to get through the whole essay as a class. you might start one group at the beginning, one group at paragraph 10, the next at paragraph 20, etc.)
- Put these guidelines on an overhead or on the board so they can follow them easily.
Make a class backwards outline on the board.
Then ask them to consider the following in terms of how well this "outlined" organization works…
- Does the organization effectively make the author's point? What are the main points and where are they made? Are the points clear? Are they interrupted or obscured by any of the organizational features we see in our outline? Would the main ideas be more effective if placed elsewhere?
- Does the organization lend itself to an easy or entertaining read? What works well for the reader? Were you ever lost? Did you ever lose interest because the organization was confusing? What other ways could Schor have organized this essay?
- Where does the essay utilize evidence? What kind of evidence is used? Is it effective?
- What pattern or structure of organization can you identify?
- Is the structure effective? Does it work? Why or why not?
Summarize this activity by emphasizing that a backwards outline works well to really break-down the organization of an essay, and they can use this activity with any essay they plan on evaluating, or even with their own essays.
Return to the criteria list and see how some of these issues meet or fail to meet those general criteria. Where do these issues fit with our criteria list? How well does the essay meet the criteria? Where would it work well, where would it falter?
RC, Adams, "The Dilbert Principle" 381-385
A paragraph summary and one page response to the following questions:
- Did you enjoy reading the Adams essay? Why/Why not?
- How would you describe the "voice" or "tone" of this essay?
- Was the voice and/or tone effective? How did it affect you as a reader?