Civic Discourse Piece

Public Discourse— Crafting an Educated Argument Format Requirements:  Paper must be no more or less than 4 pages, double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12-point font and in standard MLA format with a works cited page.  You may use narrow margin.  You must include relevant and effectively placed images.  You must include a works cited sheet that includes all sources used to support your argument. Assigned Reading: Civic Discourse in Action… These 3 texts below will give you a nice range of approaches taken when addressing an issue that is of import to many people (civic discourse). I will post a recorded lecture to clarify HOW you should be using these texts to guide your own writing decisions.  Letter to the Fairfax School Board from a Concerned Parent and Teacher o Coming from an inside perspective, the author of this letter makes her opinion heard by using the common reasons her opposition give for reopening schools in the Georgia school district. Keep in mind that shortly thereafter the schools were reclosed due to an immediate increase in Covid numbers.  TedTalk by Johann Hari: o What really causes addiction — to everything from cocaine to smart-phones? And how can we overcome it? Johann Hari has seen our current methods fail firsthand, as he has watched loved ones struggle to manage their addictions. He started to wonder why we treat addicts the way we do — and if there might be a better way. As he shares in this deeply personal talk, his questions took him around the world, and unearthed some surprising and hopeful ways of thinking about an age-old problem. This talk was presented at an official TED conference and was featured by our editors on the home page.  ABC Science : “Should we kill killer sharks? Why we need to protect the predators that hunt us”  o By environment reporter  Nick Kilvert Posted 10/14/20, updated 10/15/20 o "We still only average about one death a year [from shark attack]. Sharks are way down the list after dogs and horses, you name o In addition, I would like you to also keep in mind 3 of the 4 texts you examined through your group projects:  Gillette’s “The Best Men Can Be” short film: This commercial is joining the conversation about the need for change to eliminate “toxic masculinity;” this is a CIVIC ISSUE because the behaviors associated with toxic masculinity affect a LOT of people—worldwide.  Jeremy Rifkin’s Los Angeles Times article “Change of Heart” addresses the controversial topic about how we should “see” animals in light of continually increasing research that makes them more like us than we thought. This is a CIVIC ISSUE because animals are used in so many capacities in modern society which raises moral and environmental issues (among others) making it matter to a LOT of people—on a global scale.  Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech which, historically, is an empowering example of CIVIC DISCOURSE at its finest. King’s eloquent argument on behalf of ALL his fellow Americans about inalienable rights (life, freedom, equality, happiness) remains prominent in our current civic discourse about systemic racism. Writing the Essay: Write an poignant essay on a topic of your choosing that persuades a specific PUBLIC audience (opinion editorial for a specific publication, a speech to a local school board, a letter to a public official, a podcast for NPR, an essay meant to be read at a rally, etc.) Make no mistake: The essay must target a specific public audience (you can’t write to a friend). Before Writing your Argument:  Identify a subject that could be considered a civic issue; it should be one that you care about.  Select a specific audience for your argument; you may decide this after you begin conducting research.  Conduct research on that civic issue to identify a specific idea that could be argued, accumulate evidence from credible sources, select and synthesize information, utilize evidence effectively.  Consider the opposition to your argument and conduct additional research accordingly Writing your Argument:  Construct an Argument  Determine which claims you intend to make  No less than 3 claims; one must be a counterclaim.  Vary claim type (claim of fact, cause and effect, proposal, value/principle, etc.)  Determine the most effective evidence to use to support your claims (consider audience).  Make solid rhetorical decisions regarding rhetorical strategies and appeals used to persuade your specific audience. A successful essay will:  Using some of your research, give a brief introduction of the topic (and/or the controversy surrounding it) in your introductory paragraph (or paragraphs).  Create a specific argument that is logically supported with cited evidence from credible sources.  Follow conventions of structure to guide the reader from one idea to the next. o This includes strong transitioning and… o An intentional order of claims.  Follow conventions of grammar, mechanics, and diction.  Show conscious decisions to appeal to ethos, pathos and/or logos in your attempt to persuade your audience.  Show conscious decisions to utilize rhetorical strategies in your attempt to persuade your audience.  Be appropriate at all times for your argument’s given rhetorical situation. o The Rhetorical Situation: Topic / Audience / Context Grading Criteria: I will use a holistic scoring rubric to evaluate your paper that takes into account your mastery of such facets of writing as organization, development, grammar, mechanics, and usage. This paper will be heavily evaluated on its ability to respond to its rhetorical situation based on the categories on the rubric. Please note: Being present with your rough draft and actively participating in in-class peer editing sessions is a separate assignment worth points toward your in-class/homework grade. Key  Learning Objectives Met with This Assignment  Understand the concept of rhetorical situations: the relationship among writer-audience-subject- context.  Apply critical reading strategies to a variety of publicly and individually produced texts  Work with a variety of assigned readings and learn to interpret, incorporate, and evaluate these readings.  Use writing as a way to learn—to think about, question, and communicate ideas.  Develop successful, flexible strategies for generating, revising, and editing texts.  Understand the collaborative and social aspects of the writing process.  Critique your own and others’ texts.  Show initiative in problem solving situations.  Analyze and choose the appropriate conventions for a range of audiences.  Integrate a variety of appropriate sources into your writing in a way that accurately reflects your meaning and purpose.

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