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Class Plan -- Unit Three, Day 26


Writing - Begin drafting your Arguing Essay; Make an outline of the sample essay, making sure you make note of the writer's claim, reasons, use (and refutation) of opposing reasons, appeals, and evidence. ASK STUDENTS TO BRING THEIR ARGUMENATIVE BRIEFS (AND ANY DRAFT THEY HAVE SO FAR) BACK WITH THEM NEXT CLASS.



Optional Conference Sheet Before you launch the following discussion, it might be a good idea to pass around a sheet with times slotted out for optional student conferences. You might find that many students will want to drop in during your office hours in the next week to ask for help in the latter stages of this writing process. Having a conference sheet is a good way to be able to ration out your office hours and perhaps throw a few more in if necessary (depending on the level of student panic).

Discuss appeals and practice identifying the different types. Just as you did with claims, begin by getting a definition (in students' own words) of "appeal" [something like "a way of bringing the audience over to your side" or "conscious attempts to convince the reader"] Talk about how appeals are oftentimes made on the "reasons" level of an argument (thus your reason for discussing them at this point in the writing process). Then list the types on the board and discuss them briefly. The only one that typically confuses students is appeal to character. Oftentimes they assume (understandably) that this refers to the author's appeal to the audience's good character, not to his or her own good character or credibility.

You can practice identifying these different types of appeals by asking students to read a short passage or watch a short film clip which presents an organized argument. I've used the St. Crispin's day speech from Henry V (See Appendix), but I've also seen instructors use a clip from a movie or t.v. show. Ask your students to read or watch the sample, naming as many appeals as they can find. Discuss their responses for about 10 minutes. Then make a link to the logical fallacy activity by discussing how fallacies can sometimes occur when appeals go awry.

Group Activity: Logical Fallacies. You might preface this activity by asking your students what a logical fallacy is. Tell them that the purpose of this activity isn't to get them to learn the proper Latin names for the fallacies. (Whether or not they can identify PARTICULAR fallacies or not is rather inconsequential.) Rather, you want them to be able to tell GENERALLY when something is not quite right in their own and others' reasoning. Having said this, ask your students to form six groups. Give each group an OH transparency, a pen, and copies of a handout which includes examples of fallacious arguments that you have devised (See appendix for some ideas). Then assign each group a logical fallacy to work on. I always use the following six fallacies, because I consider them to be the most common, but you could choose ones that you think would be more useful for your students to consider: Faulty Cause and Effect (Post Hoc ergo Procter Hoc), Ad Hominem Fallacy, Begging the Question, Faulty Comparison or Analogy, Hasty Generalization, Either/Or Fallacy (False Dilemma). [Remember that for each fallacy you assign, there needs to be an example on the example sheet you give to the groups.] Finally, get them started by putting the following instructions on the OH:

Take about 10-15 minutes to do this.

[Remind students that they can refer to the information in PHGthat they read for today if they need to.


Group Reports and Discussion.When all of the groups are finished writing up their OH, have them "teach" their fallacies to the class one by one. As they present their information, you can guide the discussion by asking the class how the writer of this argument could have avoided making this fallacy. Oftentimes, fallacies are just a matter of sloppy wording. How might the wording be changed in a way that would make the reasoning more logically sound? [Perhaps emphasize the importance of qualification.] This discussion should conclude with students having an understanding of the general (and easily avoidable) causes of logical fallacy: tendency to overgeneralize, failure to prove connections between ideas, failure to make necessary distinctions and alternatives, and tendency to assume the very thing that needs to be proven.

If you find yourself with a lot of extra time on your hands, you might put students back in a circle and ask them to continue the Devil's Advocate workshop they did before break, this time examining each other's reasoning for possible logical fallacies.

Hand out sample student Arguing Essay, and explain assignment for next class.