Week 13: Monday, November 17th - Friday, November 21st
Goals for this Week
students with an opportunity to evaluate sample argumentative essays,
including examples from the NYT.
sample essays. As you do so, ensure that students understand that sample
essays are not models for writing, but that they serve as vehicles for
discussing the choices writers make in response to their writing
situations. You can use:
from the NYT Editorial and Op-Ed pages
from the PHG
essay(s) from the appendix
your own—perhaps providing an online link via Syllabase so that students
print out their copies at home and read them before class
To facilitate the discussion, you
can place the arguments on an overhead or have students examine the essays in
groups and report back to the class with their findings. You’ll find an
expanded discussion of strategies for meeting this goal in "Planning to
Model or Critique Student Samples" located in the teaching guide Planning
a Class on Writing@CSU.
Backward Outlining (see Week 11 class plans or consult the appendix for
clarification of backward outlining) to examine the structure of the
the goals and expectations for the arguing essay.
time in class writing argumentative briefs
Review of argumentative briefs
the optional use of illustrations to enhance arguments and to conform to a
target publication. See the discussion of this issue under Connection to
Course Goals, below.
Connection to Course Goals
As Thanksgiving and the end of the course begin to loom, try
to keep your students as much on task as possible. Many a student has “flaked
out” at this late stage, and that tragedy can often be prevented by your
attentiveness at this stage to signs of resignation, exhaustion, and
withdrawal. While you are under no obligation to provide “mothering,” you
expend little and possibly avoid a lot of later complications by simply
indicating your concern and awareness of their attendance and conscientious
completion of assignments. Often, for instance, a sudden pattern of sloppiness
on the part of an otherwise good student can be called to their attention (and
corrected) with just a simple question. Also, a quick whole-class email that
provides a little cheerleading at this point can do some good. You might point
out that the more they get done now, the less they’ll have to do over the
break. Some will be delighted to have the break to work on their papers, while
others will resent having any work at all. Remind them that the Portfolio is
due at the end of the week they return from break. Also, since you are
preparing them to work independently over the break, you’ll need to make sure
that they have a solid argument plan before they leave. The argumentative brief
is an effective way of ensuring that every student has (at least) an outline of
the essay before leaving campus. Among other things, this outline is a good
hedge against writer’s block, tendencies to procrastinate, and even the kind of
forgetting that can occur when students make a break from campus and academics
for over a week.
The activities for this
importance of ongoing revision during the writing process
development of an argumentative brief
use of illustrations (charts, graphs, images, animations, video, etc.) as
persuasive and informative devices
In terms of revising, your overall goal is to help
students understand that writing continues even after they've completed their
first draft. It would be ideal if they began to see and value the improvements
made during this process of rewriting.
In terms of argumentative briefs and doing a peer review
of the brief, your goal here is to help students see that they can block out their
arguments (and play with organization and development) before they draft. The
brief makes an argument visible while also offering high levels of flexibility
for easy revision before whole paragraphs are committed. Argument briefs are
most effective if written in full sentence form, compelling the writer to
assert his or her argument points (thesis, reasons, and evidence). At the
conclusion of this lesson plan, please find an example you could use with
In terms of illustrations,
your goal is to expand students’ understanding of “evidence.” Students should
understand that, in addition to such devices as paraphrases and quotations,
they can draw on a wide range of illustrations, tables, charts, and so on to
support their arguments. If they have been collecting samples of graphics from
the NYT during this section of the course, they should be in good shape to
understand and discuss the role of visuals in making points and supplementing
arguments. Have them bring examples to class and bring your own as well.
Required Reading and
should be working hard to supplement their sources, to plan their arguments,
and to integrate all they’ve learned about argumentative principles and writing
for specific contexts. Their homework over the Thanksgiving break is to return
with a solid draft that is ready to be workshopped on the first day back. No
further reading, beyond their own research, the sample essays and their peers’
argument briefs, should be assigned at this point. The NYT will not be
delivered during the fall break.
Sample Argumentative Brief
Essay Title (Working): Return the Right to Forego Treatment of
Neonates to Parents and Their Physicians
Thesis: The decision whether to treat or not treat a
neonate with a serious medical condition, when combined with significant
handicaps and abnormalities, should be left to the parents’ discretion—supplemented
by consultation with a family physician and an ethics board.
Introduction/Background: Neonatology has resulted in
remarkable advances in the care of very ill newborns, but the costs of such
care are not fully recognized.
a. The most significant
development in neonatal care after WWII was the neonatal intensive care unit
(NICU), the capabilities of which have grown steadily since its inception.
b. Advancements in medical
technology have resulted in babies surviving at ever smaller birth weights.
c. The costs associated with
care of the very small neonate are often not considered, either from the point
of view of immediate family costs or long-term society costs.
d. The costs of such care are
also measured in terms of the long-term prognosis of surviving babies, which in
general is not particularly good since care and illness do not end when sick
babies go home.
Legalities and Ethics: Both legal and ethical
dilemmas are associated with advances in neonatology.
a. It is illegal to deny
treatment to any infant.
b. However, it is unethical
to require treatment for newborns whose prognosis is poor and for whom
suffering is inevitable and without end.
c. Without reliable data
about the long-term effects of many treatments currently available, vegetative
“new species of human beings” are being created—at great cost to society, which
absorbs the expenses of such care through increased insurance and medical care
Ethics Committees: Ethics committees may offer a
reasonable way for hospitals, parents, and physicians to make logical decisions
about ill neonates’ lives.
a. In many place, ethics
committees have been developed for helping with decisions about ill neonates.
b. Such committees, made up
of religious counselors, physicians, nurses, social workers, and legal counsel,
exist for the sole purpose of informing parents and usually are without
c. There is little data
(research) to suggest how well these committees are working, and many hospitals
do not employ them.
The Courts: Legislation has eroded local decision-making
regarding neonate life decision.
a. The 1982 Baby Doe case was
a landmark Supreme Court ruling in which The National Right to Life Association
petitioned the Courts to allow Baby Doe to be adopted rather than allowed to
forego surgery and die, as requested by the parents. Baby Doe died before the
case reached conclusion.
b. Regulations followed the
Baby Doe petition specifically seeking that parents not be allowed to deny
their children treatment.
c. The receipt of federal
funding would be jeopardized if hospitals failed to comply.
d. The U.S. Court of Appeals
replied saying that Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act was “intended to
assure the disabled equality such as housing and employment” and was not
intended to address the medical treatment of newborns.
e. On October 9, 1984, President Reagan signed a Senate bill which
amended the Child Abuse regulations to include non-treatment of neonates as
child abuse and neglect.
Physicians and Parents: Both parents of ill neonates
and their physicians are frustrated by current laws that prevent their
a. A survey of pediatricians
showed that most doctors believe that current regulations “encourage or require
the over-treatment of infants.”
b. A survey of parents of ill
neonates showed that most believe current regulations cause unnecessary pain
and suffering to both neonates and their families.
VI. Conclusion: Decisions about newborns with poor prognosis should be
returned to families and their physicians. Hospitals should seek legal
protection by instituting ethics boards comprised of persons without hospital