backReturn to Unit 3: MWF

Unit 3, Day 31:  Monday, October 29


What you’ll do today in class:


-         Discuss readings on education as an institution (“Schooling” section, Sizer, Gatto)

-         Examine the context and exigence for Sizer’s and Gatto’s articles

-         Assign groups and group readings for presentations on Wednesday


Connection to course goals:   The main aims of today’s class are to generate more issues appropriate for responding to the Essay 4 context and to have students critically consider what specific rhetorical contexts exist within the discipline of education that might be valuable for writing about in this unit.




1.      Find issues raised by Gatto’s and Sizer’s arguments (20 minutes):  The main goal of this activity is to generate other issues or concerns about education as an institution.  Prepare a list of questions to discuss as a class, or design a group activity that will get students to discuss the articles and generate issues.  Try to generate as many potential issues as possible (and add them to your list).  You can use the issues Sizer and Gatto raise as a springboard to other experiences students have had and other possible related issues.  For example, if you get to a general topic such as “grades” encourage students to generate more narrow issues. (What effect do grades have on students’ learning?  Do grades actually measure learning?  What are the most effective grading or assessment systems available?)  Get students to share their own views of and experiences with grades.


2.      Discuss the rhetorical context of the Gatto and Sizer articles (15 minutes):  The goal of this discussion is to show how these writers’ purpose and claim in writing to a particular audience emerge from what they see as the social exigence for writing about the problems they find with the educational system.  In this discussion be sure to emphasize these 4 concerns:


·        How have Gatto and Sizer defined the social exigence they’re responding to?

·        How does each writer’s position on the issue affect whom he chooses to write to and why?

·        How does each writer’s purpose and claim emerge from his exigence (why he thinks it needs to be said) and his audience?

·        How are Gatto and Sizer going through a similar process that we went through in determining an exigence for writing in Unit 2?




3.      Assign groups for the presentations on Wednesday (15 minutes):  Explain to students that the purpose of the presentations is to generate further educational issues from the articles so they can see other relevant choices open to them for Essay 4.  Let them know that each group will be completely responsible for their assigned article.  Be sure to give the groups 10 minutes or so at the end of today’s class to get organized.  Also, let them know that they’ll have about 5 minutes at the beginning of next class to put together their presentation on an OH.  They might want one or two people to focus on each part of the presentation described below.


-         Write a brief summary or list of the article’s main points.

-         Write a list of 5-7 issues that your article addresses or refers to that could serve as a focus for Essay 4.

-         Write a brief reaction to the issues you found most important or interesting.  Try to think of yourselves as trying to persuade people to research and write on these issues.  Perhaps think about why the author thinks this issue is especially important or interesting.

-         Bear in mind that each presentation should only last 5-7 minutes maximum.





Assignment for Day 32:


-         Read your group’s assigned article and skim the other articles:

-  Estrich, “Separate Is Better” in PHG (389-93)

-  Postman, “Virtual Students, Digital Classrooms” in PHG (394-402)

-  Tannen, “How Male and Female Students Use Language Differently” in PHG (284-290)

-  Petrie, “Athletes and Education” in PHG (37-40)

-  Lemann, “A Real Meritocracy” in RC (130-35)


-         Write a summary or list of the issues—what your group agrees on in preparation for your presentation to the class Wednesday.