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Unit 1, Day 7:  Tuesday, September 11


What you'll do today in class:


-         Review finding main ideas

-         Practice using Agree/Disagree response as a way to meet the Essay 2 context (using Schor and Hochschild)

-         Practice choosing and developing focus criterion/criteria for their Essay 2


Connection to course goals:  The first activity practices the skills necessary to meet the expectations of the context for Essay 2. Using Agree/Disagree response as a way to meet the context emphasizes that they can make choices as to how they will meet the context. The last activity connects back to our larger goal of teaching students to ask questions about their writing context in order to make the most appropriate choices for their writing.




1.      WTL to find where students agree and disagree with Schor and Hochschild (5-7 minutes):  Give students about 5 minutes to respond to the following prompt:

·        The essays we read for today took different sides on the causes and implications of the growing workload of Americans. Which of these authors do you tend to agree with and why?


Transition:  “We've looked a good deal at how the analysis response can be used to meet our context for Essay 2.  Now let's consider how we might use the Agree/Disagree approach to meet the expectations for this essay but still be fair to the context in which Schor and Hochschild have written their texts.  Then we’ll begin to think about using evidence.”


2.      Discuss main points from readings (10 minutes):  Before you begin discussing students’ WTL, get them to identify Schor’s and Hochschild’s respective arguments. (Prepare some discussion questions that could help students generate these main ideas. You might glance at the discussion questions offered by RC for some assistance here.)


Main points from Schor’s “The Overworked American”


·        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 the opposite direction of other European nations.

·        The “productivity dividend” is controlled by the companies—workers don’t have a choice about how to use the gains from that productivity dividend.

·        It’s not a visible societal debate anymore—unions aren’t fighting for fewer hours.

·        This crisis of leisure time contributes to social problems in the home and work environments.


Main points from Hochschild’s “Work:  The Great Escape”


·        Americans are working more hours because they want to - work has become a "home away from home." They complain about a time debt, but they actually choose it.

·        The social situations and environment at work are actually largely preferable to those at home.

·        As work has become more social (Deming's "total quality approach"), home has become more like work (Taylorizing the home) -- quality time to make it more "efficient."

·        "Emotional Downsizing"

·        Parents can now "buy" their way out of time - various companies designed to fulfill traditional parental obligations for a price.

·        CAUSES: More women in the workplace, while men still don't do their part in the home; job mobility has taken people away from relatives who can help.

·        SOLUTION: More and better parental leave, like Sweden


3.      Connect Schor’s and Hochschild’s arguments to their context (10 minutes):  In this activity we want to show students how an agree/disagree approach—or any type of approach for analysis—needs to be connected to context.  First, students will need to make clear each writer’s audience and purpose in writing to her particular audience.  Emphasize to students that in order for their analysis to be valid they need to first understand why each writer made the points she did.


-         Define Schor’s and Hochshild’s context:

·        What do you know about the situation for each writer’s text?  Where was it published?  When?

·        Considering that situation, to whom is each writer’s article directed, primarily?  What is each writer’s purpose?  What did she hope to accomplish in writing to these readers?

-         Discuss students’ agree/disagree responses in terms of rhetorical context:

·        Based on our discussion of the main points from each reading and some of the rhetorical context for each writer’s text, what is it FAIR to agree or disagree with?


4.      Discuss the essays as an interactive Agree/Disagree response (15 minutes):  Now that students can be more conscious of what each writer is trying to accomplish in her article and why, see what response students have to these writers’ arguments.  Your goals in this activity are to let them practice agree/disagree response and to get them thinking about what type of evidence they would need to use to support that approach effectively in essay 2.


Some ideas for prompting debate/discussion:


-         Ask students which author they think is correct and why.

-         Let them debate for 5-7 minutes, just to see how these essays 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 Hochschild's view, ask them to consider the implications of that view. Is it fair for parents to "buy" their way out of their responsibilities?  If they agree with Schor, pretend you're more concerned about individual happiness.  Why should I be forced to make my life more miserable by spending time with people I don't want to spend time with at home?

-         Ask students to discuss which of the reasons for agreeing and disagreeing are fair ones, given Schor's and Hochschild’s context. 


Transition: “Now that we've seen how these essays can lend themselves well to an agree/disagree response, let's connect this back to our context in Essay 2.”


5.      WTL to connect agree/agree to Essay 2 context (5 minutes): Have students take about 5 minutes to jot down ideas in response to these related 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?


6.      Discuss WTLs (7-10 minutes):  List students’ responses on how this approach 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.


7.      Discuss other options for the Hochschild and Schor essays (5 minutes): Your goal is to have a brief discussion to consider other possible parts of these essays that could serve as a focus for Essay 2, once again emphasizing the choices available to students in this assignment.


Transition: “We've now seen how you might use a different criterion for evaluating a text to meet the context for Essay 2.  Now let’s consider what key questions you’ll need to ask in order to choose and develop your focus criteria.”


8.      Choosing/developing criteria to focus Essay 2 (10-15 minutes):  In this discussion you're trying to get students to think about the choices they'll have to make in writing Essay 2.


-         Ask students to generate a list of questions they’ll need to consider once they’ve chosen a text.  Try to produce the following type of list:

·        What is my purpose? Am I going to recommend the text be used or not used?

·        What are the reasons for my judgement of the text?

·        What aspects of the text really stood out to me?

·        What aspects of the text would be most relevant for the seminar professor’s purposes in her/his class?

·        Which criteria would the professor be most likely to use or care about in regard to this particular text?


-         Once you have a list of possible questions, ask students to answer those questions in terms of Schor or Hochschild.

·        What would you focus on?

·        What would be your purpose?

·        What aspects of each text stand out most, given your understanding of the context for Essay 2?




Assignment for Day 8:


-         Read Kilbourne, “Beauty . . . and the Beast of Advertising” in RC (366-70)

-         Write a 1-page evaluative response to Kilbourne’s article focusing on how well her text meets one of our established criterion, and then explain why you chose that criterion.