What they'll do today in class:
- Quickly review of summary with Adams
- Practice analysis of Dilbert - style/tone/voice
- Show how Agree/Disagree response might be useful in meeting the context
- 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 again focus on a different aspect of an essay (style and tone). Introducing focus is the next step in meeting the expectations of an academic audience.
Today we'll look at the Dilbert essay to once again walk through the steps of evaluating, and we'll move one step further to begin using evidence to support our judgments about how well an essay meets our criteria.
- To begin, let's quickly summarize the main ideas of the Adams essay. (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.) (5 min)
MAIN POINTS OF ADAMS ESSAY:
- The "Peter Principle" - people are promoted based on their competence until they reach their level of incompetence - has given way to the "Dilbert Principle" - the most incompetent workers are systematically moved to management b/c that's where they do the least damage.
- Managers are idiots (in so many words…)
Discuss their homework responses to get at issues of style and tone.
- How would you describe the "tone" of this essay? The "voice"?
- How does this tone effectively draw the reader in (or fail to do so)?
- What specific places do you think achieve this?
- How credible is the tone in this essay? Do you trust the author? Why or why not? What specific places in the text make the author sound trustworthy or questionable?
- How effective would this tone/voice be in the sociology class?
- Why might the professor want an essay with this style? What would it accomplish well for their purposes? What would it be less effective in accomplishing? (you might return to the criteria list here)
- Emphasize while they're giving examples from the text of the places where they "see" the tone and style and this is one type of evidence that will be useful in developing their second essays. If they make claims about features of the text, they'll need to use specific textual evidence to support/show those claims.
Transition: So far we've looked at how evidence, organization, style, and tone could all be areas to focus on in evaluating an essay. Let's spend a some more time looking at how you might use an agree/disagree response to meet this context.
Discuss the essay using Agree/Disagree responses.
Your goal in this activity is simply to let them practice agree/disagree response.
Before you begin this discussion, ask students to pay attention to the types of "evidence" people use, and how that might translate into their essays. At the end of the discussion you'll consider how you would support this type of response effectively for the context in Essay 2.
- Do you think Adams is correct? Why or why not?
- Let them offer their responses for 5-10 minutes, just to see how this essay would work for generating discussion. You might want to think about ways to play devil's advocate to help keep the discussion going. For example, if everyone initially agrees with Adams' view, ask them to consider the implications of that view. Is it fair to say that all bosses lack intelligence and/or social skills? Is it fair to say that everyone in management is promoted via the Dilbert Principle?
Transition: Now that we've seen how this essay can lend itself to an agree/disagree response, let's connect this back to our context in Essay 2.
WTL: Take about 5 minutes to jot down ideas in response to these questions: How might you use the discussion we've just had to meet the criteria we've set up and our context for Essay 2? Why might a professor be interested in essays that can produce these responses? What would you have to do to SHOW the reader the agreement/disagreement an essay can generate? What, from the discussion we just had, might be useful as evidence for this type of approach?
Discuss WTLs - List their responses for how this could meet the context on the board. Discussion is the most obvious possibility, but see if anyone comes up with other options for how Agree/Disagree response might be used. Also, consider what types of evidence they'll need. Ideally people will have used personal experience during the discussion, and you can refer to their examples as possible pieces of support to SHOW the professor that students can easily agree or disagree with the essay. (5-10 minutes)
How do you choose the parts of an essay you want to focus on? In this discussion you're trying to get them to think about the choices they'll have to make in writing their second essay.
- Once they've chosen an essay, what kind of questions should they consider to decide where to focus their analysis?
- What is my purpose? Am I going to recommend the essay be used or not used?
- What aspects of the essay really stood out to me?
- What aspects of the essay would be most relevant for the sociology class?
- Which criteria are most important for me (or for students in general)? (5 min)
- Once you have a list of possible questions, ask them to answer those questions in terms of the Adams essay. What would they focus on? What would be their purpose? What aspects of the essay stand out most?
RC Hochschild, "Work: The Great Escape" pp. 371-381
A one-page evaluation of Hochschild. Choose a focus for your evaluation based on our criteria list and one of the 4 practice analyses we've done in class (evidence, style, organization agree/disagree)
- Be prepared to explain why you chose that focus.