backReturn to Unit 3: MWF

Unit 3, Day 41:  Wednesday, November 28


What you’ll do today in class:


-         Discuss shaping strategies

-         Discuss how students can make their structure coherent with their audience, purpose, and overall claim

-         Discuss traditional and Rogerian argumentation

-         Analyze the organization of Essay 4 student sample


Connection to course goals:  Today we want to emphasize that the way students structure their arguments also depends largely on making choices appropriate to their context and audience.




1.      Discuss “shaping” strategies (5-7 minutes):  Here we want to show students how the structure a writer chooses is guided by context.  Plan a discussion that highlights matching reasons to opposing arguments, different “outlines for arguments,” and how all of these are choices influenced by a writer’s audience, purpose and focus.  For example, writers might choose to order their reasons differently depending on their audience.  If a person is writing to an audience that’s quite strongly opposed to her view, she might start with a point she’d be more willing to accept and “ease” readers “into” some of the points they’d be less likely to accept.


2.      Discuss different arguing approaches from PHG (more traditional vs. Rogerian) (5-7 minutes):  This discussion should give students more of a sense of the different approaches or strategies available to them.  Emphasize to students that their argument doesn’t have to be completely traditional or Rogerian.  Instead, they might use Rogerian techniques for the most sensitive points in an argument that is otherwise more traditional. 


3.      Show students how to make their structure coherent with their audience, purpose and thesis (15 minutes):  The aim of this activity is to model for students a process for making sure their organization is coherent with the other contextual choices they’ve made.  Have students complete a “backwards outline” on Koch’s article to consider how well his reasons and evidence fit with his thesis, purpose and audience.  Try to get students to recognize, for example, how Koch chooses to deal with opposing views one by one and organize his arguments as a response because there are so many opposing arguments and they are so closely tied to his own arguments.


A.     Discuss/define Koch’s exigence, audience, purpose, and thesis.

  1. Have students complete a reverse outline to analyze how the way he organizes his text follows from his exigence, purpose, and thesis, etc.  (See the backwards outline analysis sheet in the appendix.)


4.      Analyze an Essay 4 student paper in terms of structure (20 minutes):


  1. Define/discuss the writer’s exigence, audience, purpose, and thesis.
  2. Have students complete a reverse outline to analyze how well the writer’s structure fits with the exigence, audience, purpose, and thesis, etc.  (See the backwards outline analysis sheet in the appendix.) 
  3. Ask students to evaluate the paper’s structure and make suggestions to the writer based on their analysis. 

·        Is the structure effective, given the writer’s audience, purpose and thesis?

·        How could the writer make the organization more coherent with his/her context?



Optional Activity (if time)Have students apply these discussions back to their own paper:  Get students to respond to the following prompt:


·        Freewrite a list of the kinds of questions you should ask yourself when thinking about organization for your own paper.




Assignment for Day 42:


-         Read “Revising Fallacies in Logic” in PHG (477-79).