What we'll do today in class:
- Focus their issue
- Begin to define their context
- Zero Drafting of positions, audiences, purposes
Connection to course goals: These activities all ask students to begin analyzing the context for their final essay, including possible choosing a narrow issue, a purpose, and an audience.
- Focus Activity. Have the students do the "question analysis" on p.553. You might prepare the "Wh" questions to address more specifically the type of issues these students are likely to see. For example, rather than just thinking of "when" in terms of years, they might also consider at "when" in terms of level of education (elementary school? High school? College level? Specific years in college?), or they might consider "where" in terms of a specific department or college.
- State their issue. Reflecting on the answers to the questions we just did, now write your overall issue in the form of a question.
- Zero Draft of Context. The premise of a Zero Draft activity is to get students thinking and writing based solely on what they know or have found so far, without any immediate concern toward deciding which audience.
- Write your focused issue in the form of a question (what you should have generated from your homework) on the top of two sheets of paper
- Write for 10 minutes on the following questions:
- What are the various positions on this issue? Start with the 3 you generated as homework, but also add any others you think might be possible. Why do people take each of these positions?
- Who is interested in your issue? Who could do something about your issue? Why are they interested in this issue?
After they've done this for their own issue, have them exchange their issue/question with a classmate and have them answer the same questions for someone else's essay. This should provide students with a variety of possibilities for positions.
Looking again at your own answers and your classmate's feedback, consider the following question and make a list of what positions you still need to find:
Which of these positions have you actually found in your research so far? Which do you still have to make sure are really there?
Generating possible audiences. Looking at your list of positions, you probably have a sense of where you'll fall in writing your essay. With that in mind, take about 7 or 8 minutes to consider the following:
- What potential audiences can you think of for your essay?
- Which of these audience do you think will work best and why?
(NOTE: Remind them that their audience cannot already agree with them. Preaching to the choir doesn't really produce much of an argument!)
Audience Analysis activity. Design an activity that asks students to choose a tentative audience for their essay and then consider what values, concerns, interests, etc. this audience will have that they should be aware of or address in their essay. You might also have them think about possible counter-arguments the audience will offer and the writer should refute.
PHG, "Claims," pp. 434-438
Bring (2) CREDIBLE articles on your issue, each representing a different position. Make sure you've evaluated these sources based on our previous evaluating discussion
- Based on what we did today in class, 2 copies of a typed 1-page description of your context that includes your issue phrased as a question, your probable purpose in writing on the issue, and the audience you think you'll be writing to.
- A ½ page to 1 page analysis of your audience based on questions1 and 3 on page 24 of the PHG.