Class 6: Moves That Matter in Argument

October 15, 2018 at 5:19 pm  •  Posted in Uncategorized by  •  0 Comments


Choose one statement from below for which you passionately agree.  Free-write all your best reasons for agreeing with the statement.  Include as many specific examples as you can to illustrate why the statement is true from your point of view.


  1. Parents have different hopes and standards for their sons than for their daughters.


  1. What you say on Facebook should be grounds for getting fired.


  1. We need new ways to identify gender and sexuality.


  1. Children of undocumented immigrants are entitled to a public education.

Warm-up, part 2:

Write about the same statement–from the opposite point of view.  Argue just as passionately why one would disagree with the statement. Free-write all the best reasons you can imagine for disagreeing with the statement, incorporating specific examples to illustrate why the statement is not true.


With a partner, share key points from both parts of your warm-ups.  Discuss why you would want to look at both sides so carefully.  How can the two videos you watched help you approach writing about controversial issues? How can the ideas about Rogerian argument apply?  Be prepared to share 3-5 key points you and your partner have to say about argument and its importance and its limitations.

Large Class Share-out:

    • Trusting too much in the feeling of being on the correct side of anything can be dangerous.
    • Being wrong is ok—making mistakes leaves room for learning.
    • Hearing an opposing pt of view can help you understand another angle of something you are interested in.
    • Sometimes people’s egos get in the way and they can get defensive and start trying to win instead of having a discussion (of learning).
    • Being able to see both sides can expand your own point of view from what you originally believed.
    • Being able to express understanding of both sides adds to your credibility.
    • Being able to accept you can be wrong or right and that you can learn from it.
    • Mutual respect—in order to have a discussion or reach any kind of understanding.
    • You won’t be able to start understanding one another if you can’t settle your differences (or acknowledge differences).
    • When discussing a controversial subject, accept you might not get full resolution.
    • It’s important to listen and put ourselves in someone else’s shoes in order to understand why an issue is so important to someone else.
    • Assumptions and beliefs that have been given to us since birth can limit us but can also persuade us into moving forward. (it’s important to check our assumptions or implicit beliefs/biases).
    • We all have biases that we need to think about.

Here are thoughts from a previous class:

  • Our belief that arguments are important cause they help us think of new ways of thinking about an issue
  • Limitation involves arguing just for the sake of being “right”—limits the ability to understand a subject more clearly and critically (critical thinking is understanding how and why something means what it means)
  • People’s egos can be harmed in either/or arguing—people won’t listened fully or are not willing to be wrong or have their beliefs challenged
  • Arguments can’t always be “won”—they are based on emotion, logic, or influenced by personal beliefs ; the larger purpose of an argument is to achieve some insights/meaning into a perspective or perspectives
  • The idea of learning vs. losing—if one side wins, they don’t learn anything etc.
  • Grasping I don’t know and that’s ok—
  • Understanding underlying assumptions that you or others have about a subject
  • Three kinds of argument (from the TED talk):
  • Our point of view and beliefs can be based on day to day experiences
  • Not about winning or losing but about learning something
  • Be open-minded because if not it’s harder to come to understanding or new knowledge or consensus or to intellectually grow
  • Counter-argument is important—helps demonstrate your understanding or your thesis
  • Compromising is acceptable  in argument
  • A limitation can be taking it too personally
  • Hard to grow if you can’t learn to be more reasoned in your arguments
  • Accepting that you can be wrong or there is another side to the issue can help you grow

Group Activity re: Letter from Birmingham Jail

Analyzing Letter from Birmingham Jail for rhetorical devices:



The Rhetorical Devices of Ethos, Logos, and Pathos

YouTube Preview Image

In your group, describe how MLK, Jr. uses all three rhetorical devices in LFBJ; cite particular passages in which the devices are used and how/why this usage advances his argument.



1. For the subject you wrote about in today’s warm-up, draft a paragraph analyzing your “communication situation” as directed in the online guide to Rogerian Argument ( Plus compose an outline, per the online guide’s instructions, for the topic you wrote about in today’s warm-up.  Directions for the communication situation and outline are given in the section of the online guide on Prewriting and Drafting Strategies (

2. Research and draft a bibliography of 5-7 sources that address both sides of the issue you wrote about in today’s warm-up. Bring a copy of your bibliography as well as a copy of the text of the most promising source from your bibliography to class next week.

 3. Thumb through, pick out 3 bad arguments/fallacies to read and familiarize yourself with:

4. In your journal, answer three of the italicized prompts in this Let_BHJail_discuss handout (the question prompts are listed in boxes after sections of the essay). Make sure that you utilize at least two pages for your answers.  At the end of the journal entry, discuss why you chose these three prompts/questions in the first place and what you’ve learned from answering them.