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Unit 3, Day 28:  Thursday, November 29


-         Discuss organization and how students can shape their argument for their defined context

-         Analyze outlines for arguments

-         Have students outline (thesis, reasons, relationship between reasons and claim, and reasons and evidence)

-         Discuss logical fallacies

-         Discuss responding to opposing arguments effectively (arguing fairly) and Rogerian approach


Connection to course goals:  Today we want to emphasize that organization of arguments also depends largely on making choices appropriate to writers’ context and audience.  In addition, today’s class shows students the expectations for educated argumentation in terms of making sure their papers are free from problems in logic.




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 purpose and thesis, etc.  (See the backwards outline analysis sheet in the appendix.)


4.      Have students write an outline for their own paper that maps out a coherent structure (30 minutes):  The goal here is to show students a process that they can use to make sure each part of their argument is coherent with their audience, purpose and focus.  This activity asks students to begin thinking “strategically” about how they can actually set up their argument. Get students to outline their argument in a way that identifies the relationships they see among their thesis, reasons, and evidence for each reason.  Have students use the following guidelines (you might have them use a 2-column grid with reasons and evidence on the left side and explanations of connections on the right side):


1)      Write your thesis (overall claim) at the top of your outline.

2)      Write each of your main reasons (sub-claims) that support your thesis, leaving some space between each reason.  After you’ve listed them, number each reason.

3)      Explain the relationship you see between each reason you’ve identified and your thesis.

4)      Using your annotated bibliography and notes, list the types of evidence that can support each reason you’ve listed.

5)      Explain the relationship you see between each reason and your supporting evidence for that reason.

6)      Look back at your reasons and explain the connection between each one.  Which one is strongest, given your audience and purpose?  Which is weakest?  Make notes on how you might re-order your reasons to best address your audience’s previous positions and concerns.




5.      Discuss Logical Fallacies (10 minutes): Make sure the students understand the different types of logical fallacies and why each is problematic.  You might want to read over the fallacies and select several that you think they’ll be most likely to have trouble with and focus on those.


6.      Workshop outlines to look for logical fallacies (5-7 minutes):  Have students exchange their outline with a classmate and look for any places in the text that might include a problem in logic.  Ask students to complete the following for another writer’s outline:





Assignment for Day 29:

-         Read Sabatke’s audience analysis and drafts for “Welfare Is Still a Necessity” in PHG (480-87) and the other student sample (see appendix).  Keep a list of contextual strengths and weaknesses for each

-         Draft your Essay 4 based on the outline began in class today.  Bring your cover page.