Discussing assumptions and implications will help students to think critically about a writer’s argument - to look beyond what a writer says for additional meanings in a text. Discussing reasons and evidence will encourage students to develop the claims in their interpretive responses with substantial support.
Model Introduction: “Last time we discussed assumptions and implications as a way to develop our interpretive responses. Today, we’re going to continue with this idea, looking at examples from Hayward’s text. You should use this discussion as a way to reflect on your homework responses to Hayward. Try to determine, at the end of class, whether your response adequately identifies assumptions and implications, and whether it is fully developed with reasons and evidence.”
1. Reflect on homework (3 minutes): Have students begin by refreshing their memories. Ask them to silently glance back over their responses to Hayward’s essay.
Model Transition to Next Activity: “So now that you’ve recalled your response to Hayward, let’s discuss the various assumptions and implications in his argument as a group. This will set us up for critically examining and interpreting his argument so that we can produce effective responses for portfolio one.”
2. Generate assumptions and implications from Hayward’s essay (20 minutes): (Decide whether your class needs to review the terms “assumptions” and “implications” before beginning this activity). The goal for this activity is to check to see that students are able to pinpoint some of the assumptions and implications in Hayward’s argument. The interpretive response demands the most critical thinking, so you may need to provide prompts to help students “dig deeper.” During this activity, list students’ responses on the board and tell them to use their homework as a guide.
Here are some of the assumptions and implications in Hayward’s argument. You may add to this list or change these as you see fit. If students get stuck or offer limited answers encourage them to think harder about the observations below. Rather than repeating these, formulate questions to help students think more critically:
· What does Hayward assume about his audience?
· What does Hayward assume about liberals’ intentions?
· What does Hayward’s argument imply about the fate of smart growth plans?
Hayward assumes that:
· his readers are conservative Republicans
· his readers are old enough to understand what happened with bussing in the 1970s and the problems associated with urban renewal
· people don’t mind “spending too much time in traffic”
· sprawl only concerns people when there’s nothing else to worry about
· growth cannot have negative effects on our ecosystem as a whole (he doesn’t consider loss of species, wildlife, atmosphere, or climate changes to be a problem resulting from lack of planning for growth)
· is it not acceptable to use “old means” (such as the light rail) to solve “new challenges” such as traffic congestion
· that cars are not a threat to our planet or to our health
· that readers will want to defend the American suburban lifestyle
Hayward’s argument implies that:
· there is no need for growth planning and that urban sprawl should be cast aside as an unimportant issue
· Gore is simply using “smart growth” as a way to appeal to voters (since rhetoric makes it difficult for opponents to argue against it)
· we should not use past means to achieve future goals (light rails are outdated, 19th century technology)
· liberals and city planners are using “urban sprawl” as a ploy to eliminate cars
· growth plans will “fail” the same way that urban renewal plans failed in the past
Model Transition to Next Activity: “Now that we’ve located the assumptions and implications, let’s use these observations to develop a response that either supports or challenges the credibility of Hayward’s argument.”
3. Practice developing an interpretive response to Hayward’s text by developing reasons and evidence to support or refute assumptions and implications (15 minutes): The goal of this activity is to help students develop their observations into well-reasoned and well-supported responses. First, explain (or create a mini-outline on an overhead) how a writer can develop an interpretive response by addressing:
· an author’s assumption/implication
· whether they agree/disagree with that assumption/implication
· reasons why the assumption/implication is valid or problematic
· evidence to prove that the assumption/implication is valid or problematic
Then, practice this process by consulting the list of assumptions and implications. Ask students to consider whether or not they would support or refute Hayward’s assumptions and implications. Then, choose examples from the board to practice developing with reasons and evidence. To be fair, you’ll want to address both “support” and “refute” responses.
Here’s how it might look: One of Hayward’s implications:
· Implies that there is no need for growth planning and that urban sprawl should be cast aside as an unimportant issue
· Do students agree/disagree with this? (take one side at a time)
· What reasons can students offer for why they agree/disagree? (reasons must be substantial and something that can be supported - “It’s stupid” won’t cut it)
· What evidence can students provide for why they agree/disagree (i.e. personal experience - “I used to ride my horse along the back roads and now I can’t because there are huge Safeway trucks and Wal-Mart semis that come plowing through and scare my horse silly. I would say that this issue is important based on my tragic experience.”).
** Explain to students that without evidence, their responses are reduced to a list of opinions or unsupported rants. Also, warn students that they may need to search for textual evidence to support “gut feelings” or reactions. Support is easy to come by through library databases.
4. Reflect on discussion and make plans to revise responses (5 minutes): Ask students to reflect on today’s lesson, then to look back over their homework responses to Hayward and jot down notes for revision. If they were to revise this essay for portfolio one, what changes would they need to make to strengthen and develop their response.
5. Review the third type of response - analyzing the effectiveness of a text (10 minutes): Begin by telling students that they could write an agree/disagree response or an interpretive response for this essay to turn in with portfolio one. However, for your immediate purposes, you’re going to focus on writing an analytic response.
Review the following definition. Put this on an overhead or refer students to the responding section in the PHG.
The goal of an analytical response is to determine a text's effectiveness by examining its parts. You might look at the purpose, the intended audience, the thesis, the main ideas, organization, evidence, language, and style. Your objective for writing an analytic response is to point out a text’s strong points and/or where it falls short. Analyzing the text's effectiveness allows you to make more informed decisions about the usefulness and credibility of a writer's argument.
Transition to Next Activity: Write a transition linking these two activities (for assistance, look at the section on writing transitions from the guide on “Planning a Class” located in your appendix).
6. Begin discussing how to write an analytic response to Hayward’s argument (20 minutes): Review each of the elements or criteria for analytic evaluation. Encourage students to refer to the text when responding to the following questions. Try to push them beyond giving surface responses (remind them that in their essays they’ll need to develop answers with reasons and evidence rather than generalizations). Use the following questions as a guide to review the elements for evaluating a writer’s text analytically (feel free to add to these):
· Did Hayward effectively accomplish his purpose in this text? Why or why not?
· Will his argument meet the needs and interests of his intended readers? Who are they? What are their values? What are their beliefs? Would they oppose or support his argument? Why or Why not?
· What can you say about the organization of Hayward’s argument? Was it easy to follow? Did it progress in a logical order?
· What about the evidence he uses to support his argument?
· How does he support his main points? Who are his sources? Are they reliable? Does he support all of his claims? What kind of evidence does he use? Which claims doesn’t he support?
** Explain that analytical responses can serve to: praise a writer for the effectiveness of their text; point out the problems or shortcomings in a writer’s argument; praise some parts of a writer’s argument and challenge others.
7. Conclusion: Write a conclusion for today’s lesson. For assistance, look at the section on writing introductions and conclusions from the guide on Planning a Class located in the Teaching Guides on Writing@CSU (https://writing.colostate.edu/guides/teaching/planning/). You can also find a copy of the Guide in your appendix.
Read the NASA report on global warming titled, “Global Warming” (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Library/GlobalWarming/), by John Weier (April 8, 2002) . Then, read “No Surprise - Global Warming is worse than you thought” by Ronald Bailey (http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment012401e.shtml). Write a short paragraph summarizing Bailey’s argument. What main points does he raise in opposition to the IPCC’s report on global warming? (Optional: check out the IPCC’s summary for policymakers online at: http://www.ippc.ch/pub/spm22-01.pdf.) Then write a two page analytic response for Bailey’s argument focusing on one or two of the criteria we reviewed in class. Once you’ve decided which criteria you’ll look at (i.e. use of tone and use of evidence) construct an overall claim to map out your response. Begin your response with that claim and develop reasons and evidence to support it. Post your summary and response as a message to the SyllaBase Class Discussion Forum. Bring a hard copy of your draft to class.