The goal of this course is to provide you with reading, writing, and thinking strategies for life. I want to approach the work we do in here as a set of practical skills that you can take with you into the world beyond this classroom. You will learn to argue effectively by harnessing “the written word” to your benefit. I will help you sharpen your rhetorical skills so that you can confidently articulate your position on a host of topics and help you project a fair-minded, credible, savvy, well-spoken (or –written, as the case may be), and grammatically-correct person to your audience(s).
To this end, we will examine a variety of “texts” in order to understand better ourselves and the world around us. Before you can take a stand, you need to be aware of the issues that comprise your surroundings. It is important to be an active consumer of written products—magazines, newspapers, fiction, advertisements, comic books, emails, etc.—as well as spoken products—talk radio, television shows, conversations with friends and family, government speeches, etc. In addition, we will practice actively engaging with images—art, billboards, print advertisements, photographs, book covers, TV, movies, etc. Arguments are omnipresent in our society. If you can’t negotiate them and can’t make sense of them—or, worse yet, if you can’t find your position in the midst of them—you’ll simply be overlooked.
I know that you will bring to this class a set of preconceived notions, ideologies, belief systems, and personal histories that will enrich our discussions and provide us with great jumping-off points. However, I hope that over the course of the semester some of these viewpoints will be shaken up a bit, so that you learn to respect other people’s opinions while perhaps refining/reevaluating some of your own. You may come to the same conclusions that you’ve held dear all along, or you may decide that some of your preconceived notions about the world need to be altered. Regardless of the end result, at least you will actively attempt to understand why/how you came to the opinions you hold, all the while gaining exposure to and respect for other people’s views.
Vesterman, Reading and Writing Short Arguments (Fifth Edition)
Hairston, et. al. The Scott Foresman Handbook for Writers (Seventh Edition)
UNCG English Department, Writing Matters
Common place book (more information forthcoming)
This book can be any shape, size, color, and format that you choose. Just be practical about your choice because you need to get it back and forth to class everyday, and (on occasion) I will have to carry everyone’s books home and back. You will need to reference materials in it often, and you will want a book that allows you to include writing, photos, and other small mementos. Pick something that reflects your personality!
1. Reading and Short Writing Assignments: This class will be both reading and writing intensive. You cannot expect to do well in here if you do not read. There will be many short writing pieces assigned throughout the semester. Failure to complete these will result in a reduction of your grade. Since everything you write in this class is a potential portfolio piece, keep all the informal writings you do both in and out of class.
2. Formal Papers/Drafts: You will write a total of three formal papers in this class, each about three to five pages typed. One of them must be on definitional arguments (since, as you’ll find out, these are the basis for all other types of arguments); one of them will be a group paper/presentation on visual arguments; and the third can be on your choice from the other types of arguments we cover. Also, you’ll do several drafts of each essay. Please do not throw them away, as you will need them to show process and progress in your portfolio. Late papers will not be accepted. No exceptions. Do not bother turning a paper in late—the “F” will have already been recorded.
3. Commonplace Books: Commonplace books have a long tradition in literate societies, serving as sites for readers/writers to record significant passages from the works they read and reflect on them. For this course, you will keep a commonplace book of your own, including in it your in-class writings, the reading responses you do at home, and any other writing or materials you feel are relevant. You should bring this to class with you EVERY DAY. You will write all of your in-class writings in it. In addition, you should contribute something to your commonplace book every single week, whether you write, draw, tape, or glue something in it. Feel free to include passages, photos, newspaper or magazine clippings, drawings, or anything else you desire or deem important. I encourage you to express your thoughts and feelings in any medium you see fit. I will collect your commonplace books at random throughout the semester…Be prepared! First of all, have it with you at all times. Second of all, make sure you are keeping up with your one entry per week outside of class! You should mark each entry with the date at the top of the page.
4. In-Class Writing Leadership: Each class member will take a turn being the in-class writing leader. This person will bring in a topic for the class to write about for the first 15 minutes of class. The leader’s responsibilities for the day include: 1) bringing in a topic 2) sharing it with the class 3) keeping time, and finally, 4) leading a brief discussion of what the class wrote. Bring in whatever you want for topics: poems, news items, photographs, songs, brief video clips…whatever! (If you will need special audio-visual equipment, let me know ahead of time so we can be ready). Just find something that catches your attention and you think others might be interested in, too.
5. Class Participation/Group Work/Workshop Participation: Make your voice heard in class. Speak up and tell us what you are thinking. I hope that we will be a community of learners and that all of you will feel comfortable sharing your ideas with the class. Throughout the semester, you will work in groups since this is one of the best ways to learn from each other. Before certain assignments are due, we will devote class time to reading each other’s drafts and providing helpful advice. Do not miss these workshop days and do not show up without a draft. If you fail to produce a draft on the day of workshop, you fail the paper.
6. Portfolios: At the midterm and at the end of the semester, you will submit a writing portfolio for evaluation. Your portfolio will include some final versions of your essays, drafts of these essays in progress, and excerpts from informal writings, as well as a reflective introductory letter. More specific information on the portfolios will be given later in the semester.
8. Attendance: In this type of class, attendance is crucial and missed class time cannot be made up. Therefore, you are allowed THREE absences with no questions asked. If you miss for a fourth time, your grade will go down one letter grade. If you miss for a fifth time, you will be dropped from the course and will fail it. If you have an extenuating circumstance, please consult with me about it. I can’t help you if you don’t communicate with me. Additionally, being late to class is rude and disruptive. Don’t do it. If you are more than 10 minutes late to class twice, that counts as an absence. Finally, if you miss class it is your responsibility to find out what you have missed. An absence is not an excuse for being unprepared for the next class—assignments, etc. are still due.
Other items of note:
1. Email/Internet Access: Please activate your UNCG email account as soon as possible and make sure you can get onto the Internet. I will be contacting you via email quite frequently. Often, I will touch base with the class to send out reminders or to follow up on something I forgot to tell you in class. I hold you responsible for the information disseminated via email; if you aren’t going to check your UNCG email account regularly, please provide me with a working email account that you do check often to which I can send important memos. Likewise, I will send documents via email attachment that you will need to have for class.
2. Academic Honor: Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Please see the section on academic honor in the UNCG Student Handbook if you have any questions. If you are unsure about citing something, see me. You are always better safe than sorry!
3. The Writing Center: This free resource is available to all UNCG students. You may make an appointment or just drop in to have a one-on-one conference with writing consultants. They can assist you on any stage of the writing process, from brainstorming topics to revising a final paper. The center is located in 101 McIver and is open Monday-Thursday from 9-8 and Friday from 9-3. In my experience, students who go to the writing center (especially for editing/polishing assistance) always improve a lot and tend to have very successful papers.
Final Portfolio: 40%
Group Work Presentation: 25%
In-Class Writing Leadership: 20%
Commonplace Books, Workshops, Quizzes, Participation, etc.: 15%
English 101 (MWF)
The following schedule does not list quizzes or other in-class and assignments. This is all subject to change.
Key: RAW = Reading and Writing Short Arguments; SFH = Scott Foresman Handbook; Anything on E-Reserves will be indicated as such in parentheses following the text’s title
M 8/15: Hand out syllabus and go over it; Introductions
For Wednesday, READ: SFH 734 (beginning with the paragraph that starts “A paraphrase”)-740 and 745-750
W 8/17: Discussion of plagiarism (Plagiarism Handout); Sign up for In-Class Writing Leadership dates
For Friday, READ: SFH 2-14 and 102-109
DUE Friday: Plagiarism handout
F 8/19: Writing Processes; Audience; Writing for College; Persuasion and Argument
For Monday, READ: SFH 168-175; RAW 1-12 (stop after the section titled “Counterarguments”)
M 8/22: Argument vs. Fact vs. Opinion; Logic vs. Persuasion (Emotion and Morality);
Toulmin; Fallacious Reasoning; Brief Intro to Types of Arguments
For Wednesday, READ: SFH 142-154 and 175-190; RAW 12-25 ***on page 12, begin with section titled “Some Common Forms of Fallacious Reasoning”; Segment from “Love is a Fallacy” by Max Schulman (E-Reserves)
W 8/24: Becoming a Critical Reader and Thinker; Believe/Doubt Game; The Writing Process; Making Appeals and Fallacious Reasoning
F 8/26: Finish up loose ends from earlier in the week
For Monday, READ: “Beyond ‘No Means No’:Redefining Date Rape” by Cathy Young (E-Reserves); “Just War—or a Just War?” by Jimmy Carter (E-Reserves); UNCG’s definitions of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault. You can find these at: http://studentconduct.uncg.edu/policy/ (Scroll down to find “Sexual Assault Policy/Protocol” and “Sexual Harassment: Policy and Procedures.” Open the files using Adobe Acrobat and read pages 1-2 of both of them.)
M 8/29: How do you formulate a definition?; Definitional Handout; Courage Exercise; Discuss Young’s and Carter’s articles; Paper 1 Assignment
For Wednesday, READ: SFH 15-29 and 51-58 and 230-254; “Shitty First
Drafts” by Anne Lammott (E-Reserves)
DUE on Wednesday: Topic Proposals for Paper 1
W 8/31: Strategies for writing paper 1; What’s A Draft? Handout; Grammar
Workshop; Discuss Lammott’s article as definitional and for its content
in relation to our first paper coming up
F 9/2: Finish up loose ends from earlier in the week
For Wednesday 9/7, READ: SFH 266-290; RAW 178-top of 180 (Jacoby); Sample Definition Essays (E-Reserves)
M 9/5: NO CLASS—LABOR DAY
W 9/7: Discuss Definitional Arguments; Debate issues in readings
For Friday, READ: SFH 62-top of 78 (until end of peach-colored box)
DUE on Friday: Draft 1 of Paper 1 (BRING 2 COPIES!!!)
F 9/9: Peer Review
For Monday, READ: SFH 156-167 and RAW 197-209
M 9/12: Finish Peer Review; Paper 2 Assignment; Group Ranking (billboards; album & novel covers; museum art; high-gloss print magazine ads; newspaper charts, graphs, and tables; editorial/political cartoons)
For Wednesday, READ: SFH 156-167 and RAW 197-209
DUE on Wednesday: Final Draft of Paper 1 (BRING 1 COPY)
W 9/14: Begin unit on Visual Arguments; Advertisement activity
For Friday, READ: SFH 59-61 and 255-264
F 9/16: Art and Visual Argument Activity
M 9/19: Meet in Groups
W 9/21: Meet in Groups
F 9/23: Group Presentations
M 9/26: Group Presentations
W 9/28: Group Presentations
F 9/30: Finish up Group Presentations and Workshop Midpoint Portfolios
M 10/3: NO CLASS—Rosh Hashanah
W 10/5: Workshop Midpoint Portfolios
For Friday 10/14, READ: RAW 151-152 (Swift, B.) and think over questions at
end of article
DUE IN BOX OUTSIDE MY OFFICE DOOR BY NOON ON THURSDAY: MIDPOINT PORTFOLIOS!
F 10/7: Finish up loose ends from earlier in the week
For Friday 10/14, READ: RAW 151-152 (Swift, B.) and think over questions at end of article
M 10/10: NO CLASS—Have a GREAT and SAFE Fall Break!
For Friday 10/14, READ: RAW 151-152 (Swift, B.) and think over questions at end of article
W 10/12: NO CLASS: Yom Kippur
For Friday, READ: RAW 151-152 (Swift, B.) and think over questions at end of article
F 10/14: Begin Unit on Evaluative Arguments; Handout on Evaluative Arguments; Freewrite on one of four questions that I’ll bring in; Discuss Swift article (NO IN-CLASS DISCUSSION LEADER)
For Monday, READ: Sample Evaluative Handouts (E-Reserves)
M 10/17: Discuss Sample Evaluative Handouts; Paper 3 Assignment
For Monday 10/24, READ: SFH 743-744 and 688-705 and 770-786
W 10/19: NO CLASS
F 10/21: NO CLASS
M 10/24 LIBRARY DAY (Citations Worksheet)
For Wednesday, READ: SFH 341-366 and RAW 157-159 (Miss Manners)
DUE on Wednesday: Citations Worksheet
W 10/26: Begin unit on Causal Arguments; Handout on Causal Arguments; Discuss Miss Manners article
For Friday, READ: RAW 240-244 (Bronson) and 252-254 (Gore) and 254-259 (Simmons)
F 10/28: Discuss Mini Casebook on Rock ‘n’ Roll issues and discuss each article as a causal argument
For Monday, READ: “Hollywood’s Responsibility for Smoking Deaths” by Joe Eszterhas (E-Reserves); “If Men Could Menstruate” by Gloria Steinem (E-Reserves); “Wishes for Sons” by Lucille Clifton (E-Reserves); “Sports Metaphors Trivialize War” by Robert Lipsyte (E-Reserves)
M 10/31: Happy Halloween! Discuss Eszterhas, Steinem, and Lipsyte articles, as well as Clifton poem
For Wednesday, READ: RAW 74-82 (Marable, Charen, and Sowell)
DUE on Wednesday: Papers for those of you writing Evaluative Arguments
W 11/2: Begin unit on Position/Proposal Arguments; Position/Proposal Handout; Discuss articles on reparations for slavery
F 11/4: Finish up loose ends from earlier in the week
For Monday, READ: RAW 57-63 (Raspberry, Gallagher, Sullivan); “I Don’t Care If It is Legal, I Still Think It’s Wrong—and I’m a Lesbian” by Laurie Essig (E-Reserves)
M 11/7: Discuss articles on same-sex marriage
For Wednesday, READ: Sample Position Handouts (E-Reserves); “‘Got bub all up in the hizzle, yo!’: If it weren’t for rap, our only new words would be ‘ideate’ and ‘synergy.’” by Adam Sternbergh (E Reserves); “Why Reality TV is Good for Us” by James Poniewozik (E-Reserves)
W 11/9: Discuss Sample Position Handouts and articles on rap & reality TV
DUE on Friday: Papers for those of you writing Causal Arguments
F 11/11: Finish up loose ends from earlier in the week
For Monday, READ: RAW 211-218 (Swift, J.)
M 11/14: Begin unit on Proposal Arguments; Proposal Handout; Discuss Swift article
For Wednesday, READ: “Let’s Get Rid of Sports” by Katha Pollitt (E- Reserves; “The State of the Union Address I’d Like to Hear” by Arianna Huffington (go to http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0124-08.htm to find this article); “An Easy Way to Waste Less Energy” by Thane Peterson (E-Reserves)
W 11/16: Discuss Pollitt article; Discuss SUVs and terrorism
DUE on Friday: Papers for those of you writing Position/Policy Arguments
F 11/18: Finish up loose ends from earlier in the week
No class—Happy Thanksgiving!
WEEK 16 WEEK 17
M 11/28: Workshop Final Portfolios M 12/5: Last Day of Class
W 11/30: Workshop Final Portfolios FINAL EXAM
Fri., Dec. 9th 8-11 (9 am)
F 12/2: Workshop Final Portfolios Mon., Dec. 12th 8-11 (11 am)