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Assignment: 00-01
Essay 4 - Arguing about an Educational Issue

IYour goal in the final essay is to join into an academic debate about an educational issue of your own choosing. In order to effectively accomplish this task, you must first understand the various positions within the debate and decide where, exactly, your own views agree and disagree with those existing positions. Academic argument is based largely on credibility, and in order to present a credible argument a writer must understand the overall issue and all of the sides involved. Once you've done so, the actual essay becomes your argument within the existing debate and response to the other positions.

We'll be turning our critical eye on culture from media to institutions, specifically education as a cultural institution. Rather than respond or analyze, this paper will ask you to:

Topic choice is wide-ranging as long as the issue deals in some way with an education topic and is clearly an issue others might disagree with (e.g. what makes a good teacher; the role of multiculturalism in courses; whether education is sexist; the "hidden" curriculum of a particular major; whether grades should be used; whether schools falsely advertise education; why a certain course should be required of all students; whether "non-teacher" courses really offer an educational alternative; etc.). The best topics, as always, will be ones you are personally invested in somehow either through personal experience or having a particularly strong opinion about the issue after researching it.

Since we are writing about issues, your main goal in this paper will be to argue for a certain way of looking at the issue, a certain solution to a problem, or an opinion on a highly debated issue. Each issue will invoke its own context since the types of people interested in or able to take action on your issue will differ depending on the topic. As a result, for this paper, you will be asked to define your own audience and context. The only requirement I will impose is the assumption that the audience is educated and, thus, will expect an academic argument using the types of proof derived from research and logic we will be discussing in class.

Since you are determining the context, audience, and purpose of this paper, I will be grading your papers in terms of the context you define as well as the expectations of educated argumentation. As a result, I will ask you to include a cover page to your final draft specifying each of these three.

To complete this paper, we will spend much of class time discussing how to define such issues, research them, and support an argument for an educated audience.


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