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Unit 3, Day 21:  Tuesday, October 30


What you’ll do today in class:


-         Generate more educational topics using the website discussions students read

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

-         Assign groups and group readings for presentations on Thursday


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.      Discuss the educational issues students found on the web sites they read (10 minutes): The main goal of this discussion is to generate more possible issues that could work as choices for writing in this unit and to start analyzing those issues.  Prepare discussion questions that get students to identify the educational debate they read about, the “participants” (those people involved in each debate), and what these participants are interested in and why.  Be sure to add these new issues to the list you began generating last meeting and remind them that issues like these are already in the public sphere and thus provide a clear exigence for writing about them.




2.      Find issues raised by Gatto’s and Sizer’s arguments (25-30 minutes):  The main goal here 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 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.


3.      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 points:





4.      Generate exigencies and audiences for possible issues (10 minutes):  Design an activity that asks students to connect the list of issues to concerns about writing context (i.e. specifying an exigence and audience for each). For each issue they use, get students to explain how they see that particular issue, exigence and audience fitting together.


5.      Assign groups for the presentations on Thursday (10 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 5 minutes or so at the end of today’s class to get organized.  Also, let them know that they’ll have 5-10 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 22:


-         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 Thursday