Week 14: Monday, December 2nd - Friday, December 6th
Goals for this Week
Connection to Course Goals
Learning to write appeals and to avoid logical fallacies will help students construct effective arguments. It also serves the larger course goal of developing critical thinking skills. To use appeals successfully, writers must have a strong sense of who their readers are. To avoid fallacies in argumentation, writers must critically examine their claims to ensure that they are being thorough, thoughtful, and fair.
Required Reading Assignments
Where to Look for Appeals:
A Group Activity for Helping Students Analyze Appeals: Have students break into small groups (3-4) and give each group one or two sample appeals to look at. Put the following questions on an overhead for each group to address:
Allow each group 3 minutes to share their sample text and present some of their findings to the class. After all groups have finished presenting, emphasize that writers should use appeals to make effective arguments, but that they should also respect their readers and use the appeals fairly to represent their points (not to distort reality).
A Role Play Activity to Practice Using Appeals: Use this activity to get students thinking about how to appeal to an audience to meet a specific purpose. First, prepare five different tasks that require students to develop appeals. Print the tasks out and cut them into separate strips to distribute in class.
Then, break students into small groups (4 - 5) and have each group choose one strip at random. Once students have their strips, explain the following:
"Your group task is written on this slip of paper. Your group will have 10 minutes to develop an argument to persuade the rest of the class to act on. Someone from your group will then read your task to the class (the class will role play the designated audience) and you will have 5 - 7 minutes to present your argument as a group. Afterwards, the class will decide if your use of appeals was strong enough to persuade us to act on your argument. Be sure to anticipate opposing arguments along the way (as some of your peers may raise questions and objections to your claims). While developing appeals, also consider what your audience will value most. What are their needs and interests and how can you respond to these?"
Give students 10 minutes to prepare arguments before presenting. Tell students that they are free to add some inventive material to their situation (e.g. your cousin just got out of jail and he's feeling very low about himself - he needs a girlfriend to make him feel better). After each group presents, ask the class which parts of the argument were most effective, and which of the appeals worked best. Tell students to keep these observations in mind when writing appeals for their own arguments.