Day 4 - Wednesday, September 3rd
Lesson Objectives: We discuss the importance of purpose, audience and context not only for these items we’ve read but also for the summary we have written. We ask: How is summary guided by our purposes even as we attempt to make a fair representation of a document? How does Schemo herself summarize Atkinson’s proposal and why does she include other perspectives in her article? How might you characterize the perspectives and the affiliations (values, beliefs, contexts) of the represented voices in the conversation Schemo reports on here? What else do you anticipate that Atkinson may have explained or argued in his full speech? What else do you want to know about his proposal and about Atkinson himself? Today we also work on paraphrasing and quoting.
Connection to Course Goals: Applying the writing situation model to Schemo’s article will help students think more critically and objectively about both Schemo’s report and Atkinson’s argument. By understanding a writer's purpose and context for writing, specifically by sorting through the ownership of the various perspectives suggested within Schemo’s article, students are more likely to learn to represent the writer's key points rather than their own interpretation of these points. Introducing types of response aims to meet the goal of responding critically to a text for Essay 1.
A Possible Sequence of Activities for Today
1. WTL - have students reflect on writing a summary for Schemo’s article. What were the challenges of summarizing a journalist’s report of another person’s proposal?
2. Review the writing situation model to Schemo’s article
3. Discuss the importance of purpose, audience and context for writing summaries
4. Discuss effective use of paraphrasing and quoting. (See page 194 in PHG)
WTL (5 minutes): Type up instructions on an overhead, asking students to reflect on the process of writing their summaries for Schemo’s article. What did they find most difficult or challenging? What did they find easy or more accessible? What special challenges are involved with summarizing a third party’s report on another person’s ideas?
Discuss WTL responses in groups (5 - 7 minutes): Have students get into groups of three or four and ask them to discuss their responses to the WTL. Then, open the discussion up for the entire class.
Sample Introduction: Today we're going to review the guidelines for summary in the PHG. Then, we'll use the writing situation model to expand these guidelines. Hopefully, this will help you with some of the difficulties you may have experienced when writing your academic summary for today. At the end of class, we'll begin discussing the different ways you can respond to a text after you've successfully summarized it.
Review the guidelines from the PHG page 160 (5 minutes): Review these with students and check for understanding along the way by asking them to rephrase some of the points in their own words. Highlight important concepts like "objectivity" and "accuracy.”
Sample Transition to Next Activity: Now that you know the basic guidelines for summary, let’s expand on those guidelines by considering the writing situation. To do this, we'll turn again to Schemo, applying the writing situation model to Schemo’s report.
Review application of the writing situation model to Schemo (10 minutes): You may wish to review this section carefully since you have probably already applied the writing situation model to Schemo in the last class, but use this opportunity to cover any points you didn’t get to, to quickly review past points relating to the Writing Situation Model’s application to Schemo, or to enlarge upon the points with the substance provided below. The goal for this activity is to help students learn to summarize by considering an author's purpose, audience, readers, and context. The PHG suggests that an academic summary should include the main points from a text, but students often have trouble locating these. Sometimes their attempts at representing main ideas result in incoherent summaries that read more like a "list of semi-related ideas." We find that students represent arguments with much more accuracy when they address the writer's purpose (the main points seem to emerge from this).
For this activity then, you might draw the writing situation model on the board (the same one you introduced on Day 2). Be sure to include texts, readers, writers, and context. You don't need to worry about limitations, requirements, or opportunities since it will be difficult here to speculate around these things. Ask students the following questions and connect their responses to the writing situation model. Note: possible responses and prompts are listed in parenthesis following the questions. It may be particular interesting for your students to answer your question regarding the timing of the article and the speech. Which came first?? What does such a phenomenon as the news preceding the event being reported suggest about “news” and the reliability and ethics of print journalism? What questions do your students have as readers of “the nation’s newspaper” after seeing this article and (in a larger context) knowing the current events (summer of 2003’s news) related to plagiarism by feature reporter, Jayson Blair of the Times? Why is there such a rush to get “all the news that’s fits to print?” When is news being reported and when is news being made by media?
· One final time: Can you describe Schemo’s text? (a news piece, a balanced report, a primary source or document, a FORECAST of an upcoming speech!, a precursor to the primary source of real interest—the speech itself)
· When was this text was written and where did it appear? (New York Times—2001.) Do you know whether the U of CA actually adopted the proposal Schemo reports?
· Who was Schemo speaking to? Who were her intended listeners? (Consider the context where it was found. Most likely well-educated New Yorkers)
· What were her purposes for writing this text? What was she trying to accomplish? How does her purpose differ from Atkinson’s? Does she give indications (directly or through subtle clues) of her point of view on Atkinson’s proposal? [If students see an indication of Schemo’s point of view, have them point to specific locations and explain their interpretation/analysis.]
· What cultural phenomena or larger cultural trends, currents, or pressures is Schemo’s report on Atkinson's speech a response to? (Possible answers might include: The limitations of standardized testing as a criterion for admission to large, public universities. The ongoing debate over best practices when it comes to college admissions. The emphasis upon testing as a means for demonstrating the “new accountability” in education. Concerns over high stakes testing.) To what extent is the controversy over the SAT a part of Schemo’s readers' cultural environment or experience? How might this affect the way they read and respond to Schemo’s article?
· What assumptions might Schemo have made about her readers’ needs or interests? What did she think they needed?
· Was she right to assume these things? Why/why not?
· Given whom her readers are and what she was trying to accomplish, how effective (fair, accurate, and balanced) is Schemo’s report on Atkinson’s proposal? Please explain.
Discuss the importance of purpose, audience, readers, and context for writing summary/response essays (10 minutes): Look back at the list of responses on the board and ask students why it might be important to think critically about the writing situation for a particular text. Why might it be especially helpful to do this before completing an academic summary of and response to an author's argument?
· It is important for us to understand the writer's situation in order to treat his/her text accurately and fairly.
· It helps us maintain greater objectivity and represent the writer's key points rather than our own interpretation of these points.
· Thinking about purpose and audience helps us find the main ideas and key points in a text.
· Understanding an author's context (his/her relationship to a topic and the cultural need to write about it) helps ward off emotional reactions such as, "I bet Atkinson doesn't understand what it’s like to hate your high school! How can people like me ever show that we’re smart and can make it in college if we don’t have an SAT?”
Then ask students if there is any information listed on the board that they should include in their academic summaries:
· context and audience (where/when it was written and for whom)
· purpose for writing (why the writer has produced this text and what it is responding to)
Be sure to emphasize purpose. Tell students that knowing a writer's purpose will help them locate key points and evidence (you might even have them add "State the writer's purpose" to the criteria in the PHG). Also, tell them that it is not enough to just list key points and evidence when summarizing. They should explain how key points and evidence function in the text (or how they help serve the writer's purpose - See the example below).
7. Example of how to summarize key points and evidence (5 minutes): (You may want to have this on an overhead)
a. Schemo reports the perspectives of involved parties in the college admissions criteria debate. Her goal is to show that while not everyone agrees on the desirability of Atkinson’s proposal taking hold, nearly everyone is moved to address the issue of the SAT’s role in college admissions.
b. To clarify that not everyone sees the end of the SAT as a good thing, Schemo brings in the perspectives of many voices, some who oppose Atkinson’s proposal and some who advocate it, but all—interestingly enough—addressing it. Specifically, Schemo quotes the head of the College Board, Gaston Caperton, who defends the SAT, saying, “it really measures high achievement,” as well as the president of Fair-Test, Bob Schaefer, who “predicted that Dr. Atkinson’s proposal would extend a debate on the validity of the tests.”
c. Ask students which example is more effective and why.
Discuss effective use of paraphrasing and quoting (5 minutes): Design an activity where you model effective and ineffective use of paraphrasing and quoting. You might prepare examples beforehand OR have students help generate ideas using Schemo’s article. You might use this opportunity to discuss the differences between quoting from a primary source (the speech) and quoting from a secondary source (Schemo)—not only the mechanics of “quoted in” but the caution a writer must take in relying upon someone’s documentation of another’s ideas/words. Reassure students that they will soon be reading the primary document (Atkinson’s speech).
Cover the following points (Use page 194 in the PHG as a guide):
· Discuss where and how often students should use paraphrasing and quoting in their summaries. (For example: It is ineffective to string together several quotes, as this infringes on the writer's voice and can become what is known as a “quotation quilt” [see PHG for more explanation of this notion]; but it is also ineffective to paraphrase too often, as ideas need to be supported with textual evidence).
· Explain that quotes need to logically fit into the sentence structure. For example:
Ineffective and Ungrammatical: Schemo reports that Atkinson says, " that instead adopt evaluative procedures that look at applicants in a comprehensive, holistic way.”
More Effective: Schemo reports Atkinson’s argument that "…these changes will complement K-12 reform efforts."
· Note that it is considered weak practice to quote someone else’s quotation of a source, as done above. But still demonstrate how to do it if it must be done (Caperton qtd. in Schemo—see PHG for more details in the Research chapter)
· Review any other points on quoting and paraphrasing mentioned in the PHG or that you feel are important here at the beginning.
Introduce the New York Times (10 minutes) should be brought to class today. Introduce the layout of the newspaper page (backwards 6) and the story structure (inverted triangle/pyramid) essential story components—the 5 W’s—funneling down to the detailed information so that the story can be cut where space demands.) Students should be familiar with these features of the newspaper after reading the assigned pages in the PHG. Also point out the news summary on page 2.
Have everyone survey the paper for something of interest (articles, ads, anything). Review the special features of each day. Point out the editorial and Op-Ed pages and the Letters to the Editor.
Explain the notion of the News Clip Journal and how we’ll collect a minimum of 10 articles on issues of interest, actually physically clipping and pasting or taping them to notebook paper, culminating in a topic proposal at the start of Portfolio 2, which comes in Week 5. They will submit their clippings as homework at the start of Portfolio 2.
They should aim to collect an article a day. Point out that they will need a minimum of 10 articles and a minimum of 3 issues of interest as suggested by the newspaper by the third week of September or start of Portfolio 2. Bring your NYT to class every day, and if there’s time before class, read a section you haven’t gotten to yet.
A Sample Conclusion (points to cover)
· Today we reviewed the guidelines for summary and discussed how thinking about purpose, audience and context can help you write a stronger summary/response essay.
· Next time, we'll continue discussing summary, using the full text of Atkinson’s speech, and we will introduce the concept of response.
· One of the things we hope you’ll pay attention to in these opening days and weeks of the course is the way that we are following a conversation on a topical debate, in our case the SAT debate. We are building our knowledge base on the issue and the ongoing discussion, debate, or conversation. Notice that we started with a news article that reported on an event of importance, which led us to understand that a debate exists on this issue. As we learn more about this issue, we will discover that while most people either oppose or support Atkinson’s proposal, they do so for a variety of reasons. These differing reasons are at the center of our discussions and will help us to understand how people can essentially agree (be opposed or be in support) while also holding differing positions or differing rationales for their perspectives on a topic.
· Take note of the fact that the news article by Schemo gave us a fairly good overview of the issue and its interested parties. Recommend that students refer back to Schemo from time to time to ground themselves in the essential debate, to reflect upon the varying contexts of the involved parties, and to consider how their understanding of the debate has enlarged with reading.
· Recommend that students use the articles that they’re collecting in the same manner, paying attention to not only the debate but the vested interests of the engaged parties.
· A final point: As we develop our understanding of perspectives, we learn what it means to hold a stake in an issue, to have a vested interest, and we learn of the inevitability of perspective, or what some may call bias. We learn to account for perspectives, or approaches to arguments, rather than to fear, dismiss, or disdain them.
Assignment for Next Time
Read about responding in the PHG on pgs. 162 - 163. Read Dr. Atkinson’s speech in its entirety, available through the link via Syllabase and Online Resources/Instructor Provided. Type a paragraph in which you describe Atkinson's speaking situation (focus on his purpose for making his proposal, but also mention his specific audience and context). Then type out a list of main ideas/key points from Atkinson's speech. (Try focusing on the beginnings of paragraphs to aid in this process.) Post your paragraph and list to Writing Studio. Bring a hard copy of your homework to class.