Reflective Thoughts on Teaching Arguments

The recent book I read for my lit circle was Teaching Arguments: Rhetorical Comprehension, Critique, and Response, by Jennifer Fletcher.  I highly recommend Fletcher’s book for its inside scoop on instruction, not just for teaching argumentative writing but for numerous genres as well as, where students can apply/identify critical analysis and depth with supportive reasoning.  Remember, reading/writing go hand in hand…it’s a continual circle…identifying…thinking…formulating ideas…finding evidence.  Comprehensively, students can learn multiple skills that are transferrable across disciplines; however, as Fletcher suggests, writing among these disciplines will not always prove to hold the same audience.

As Fletcher goes into depth on the essential components for teaching argumentative writing to include: identifying/understanding occasion, audience, and purpose; in addition to integrating Ethos, Pathos, and Logos behind student writing, Chapter 7 was truly inspiring.  This chapter entitled,”Aristotle’s Guide to Becoming a “Good” Student” can prove beneficial to all aspiring teachers, as we continually strive and struggle in our academic career. In this chapter, Fletcher focuses on various aspects for students to achieve maximum potential both within their life and academics.  She focuses on building”habituated virtues” (healthy academic habits) and identity (high self-efficacy).  She demonstrates how to build students’ confidence and interests in their academics by focusing on what they do best, forming connections among students’ expertise.  By building their confidence in an area students view important, they in turn, can transfer the skills that support their self-efficacy and recreate “flow” to exist in any context they choose…Ultimate Goal. 🙂

A big idea to take away from Fletcher’s book reflects assisting students in recognizing and therefore, recreating “flow” for students.  As Fletcher refers “flow” to be “in the zone.”  It’s the “when, where, and why” academic literacy “flows.”  Where do you enjoy doing homework best?  On your comfy couch or porch?  What is your favorite beverage or snack  to get your thoughts moving?  What is the perfect setting for you to thoroughly enjoy or aspire to learn?  These are just some of the aspects for aiding students to recognize and assist in shaping “habituated virtues” to further enjoy and make the most effective use of time through their academic career and beyond.

As I could continue on with the many insightful thoughts acquired from Fletcher’s book, I leave you with this…Fletcher reiterates she strives for her students to be comfortable in their “rhetorical reading and writing” and discover for themselves that they are in the right place pursuing the right thing.  Remember her quote, “Becoming a “good” student or a “good” teacher just means showing up again and again for the things that matter. 🙂  Will Durant’s paraphrase of Aristotle states: “We are what we repeatedly do”.  I encourage all of you to pursue what you love and find yourself there “again and again”…

Thank you for reading this semester…:)




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