Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Developing Argument ... or ARRRGHument?

I am thinking of showing this in my comp class tomorrow:

If anybody has any suggestions for helping students develop arguments that go somewhere instead of simply engaging in circular thinking or simplistically setting up the 5-paragraph essay format, let me know. My classes don't meet that often, so it is hard to set up something where they brainstorm and work up to a thesis and then do outlining and then do a peer review; that eats up weeks I don't have.

I have in the past tried to make them outline our scholarly essays and that resulted in mutiny and very little understanding of the essay's structure, and commenting extensively on drafts does not seem to be making them improve. Discussion/Socratic questioning can sometimes work to model what you want but it also seems to require more sleep and more energy than I have at the moment.

In other news, I am so tired and so behind on everything. Arrrrgh. Wah.


Dr. Koshary said...

LMAO!! I am totally stealing this for my next in-class review of paper-writing style.

Listen carefully here, boys and girls...

Tree of Knowledge said...

I show this sketch (but I do the whole 6 minutes because I like silliness). They sometimes have a hard time catching all the fast dialogue, so I have to show it twice. :) I follow it up with an "argument is" vs. an "argument is not" list that starts with the definitions given in the sketch, and then I expand it to include other forms of fighting they might be used that aren't exactly arguments. Then they have an informal writing assignment asking them to define argument, how their idea of argument has changed, and to identify things they've encountered this week that are and are not arguments (I give them a list that includes tv shows, syllabi, etc., but you could just say 2 arg and 2 not arg and why did you classify them that way).

Point sentences outlines work well, but you say outlining isn't working. Hmm.

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

Funny sketch!

I used the Daily Show recently to astounding effect. You could even just use the opening segment of that to talk about critical thinking and how to build a case for something.