Class Goals: Defining issues. Characterizing viewpoints and positions, synthesizing viewpoints, understanding context.
Connection to course goals: Ability to define a variety of issues within one larger "topic" and the variety of positions one can take on those issues. Writers write from a given context.
- Devise a discussion or some other activity to get at main points of essays, with the ultimate goal of not only characterizing the writers’ positions, but the assumptions they hold that would lead them to these positions regarding the rise of multiculturalism and the backlash against it. (40 min.)
- Main points of Cheney
- Educators today:
- "downgrade" U.S. achievements and "focus on the negative"
- teach at the "expense of the truth"
- hold a "pro-feminist bias"
- want to get away from "hierarchies" so much that they practice no "meaningful [forms of] grading" and present fewer opportunities for competition
- Compare to Sadker/Sadker (see especially page 269 of Cheney)
- Assumptions informing Cheney’s position
- There exists a single, detectable truth
- Feminism denies the importance of motherhood and housework
- Sexual harassment is overtly physical, not putdowns or "looks" that are more subtle forms of intimidation
- "excellence" can be defined objectively
- Main Points of Ehrenreich
- The backlash against multicultural approaches sees them as dogmatic, even "totalitarian"
- She argues for a middle ground, a "lighten[ing] up"
- We should look at what multicultural teaching replaced (the ignored achievements of women and everyone in a nonWestern culture)
- "PC" can be overzealous and pay more attention to symptoms rather than causes (as when she says that calling every woman "Ms." will not decrease the pay inequity between men and women
- Assumptions informing her position
- There were disturbing gaps on education before the adoption of a more multicultural approach to curricula
- Everyone really benefits from multicultural approaches
- There is room in any course, in any semester, for all of it, the Canon and the newer multicultural texts
- Comparing Ehrenreich’s and Cheney’s viewpoints
Focus on how the assumptions inform these differences. For example, because Cheney sees a feminist conspiracy behind the new multiculti, she sees the curriculum as disadvantageous to whites and men, whereas Ehrenreich’s feminist background leads her to see that everyone benefits from the opening of the canon to be more inclusive.
- Who would be most persuaded by these authors, given the assumptions behind their writing?
Given the assumptions, who do you think the writers identify as their audience?
- Group activity: Now that we have analyzed the authors’ assumptions and what that implies about the audience in Cheney and Ehrenreich, you will do it on your own with Roszak and Postman. Assign each group the following task:
- List the main points of Roszak and the assumptions informing the writer’s position
- List the main points of Postman and the assumptions informing his opinion
- Similarities between Roszak and Postman
- Differences between Roszak and Postman(10 min.)
- Discussion of main points of Roszak and Postman. Be sure to highlight what they focus their discussion on to get to the issues.
Main points of Roszak:
- Computer proliferation on college campuses could be present these dangers:
- Dependence on corporate sponsorship
- "downsizing" by replacing profs, instructors, TAs
- decreased interaction between students, instructors
- fostering "technological dependency" (see his narrative of the movement from powerful "hackers" to disempowered drones, pp. 285-end)
- What does he see as the purpose of learning and education? The ideal method for learning/teaching?
- What are his solutions to universities’ tendencies to rely on technology as a quick fix?(pp. 284)
Main points of Postman:
Gather for your discussion
Connections between Roszak and Postman:
- Technology too often seen a as a godhead/belief system
- Our subservience to technology (our view that it is here and we must accommodate ourselves to it)
- Postman’s solution is to "make technology itself an object of inquiry"
- Postman focuses on children more than college-aged students
- Postman is concerned about the class differences technology will exacerbate, rather than alleviate
CSOW: Postman quotes a writer who believes that "modern technologies have rendered schools entirely irrelevant since there is so much more information outside the classroom than inside it." This is why we study critical reading and evaluation, so that we can learn to discriminate between those ideas that are useful and those that are not. As Postman describes with his "little Eva" example, it’s not a lack of information that troubles us, but what to do with all of the information we are constantly taking in. We need to do this not just in writing arguing essays, but throughout our lives as ideas/ solutions are presented to us.
- Introduce CAP.
Assignment: Read your group’s article (it may be on reserve in Morgan Library) and be prepared to summarize it for people who have never read it. Read "Field Sources" in PHG and finish SEA.