WEEK ONE: Recognizing Argument and Engaging With Issues

READING: Wood, Chapter 1



In our first class, we got to know each other a little better by engaging in a "Silent Interview" of a peer. In this activity, students paired up and answered some questions about their partner based on appearances alone. Each student then presented his or her partner to the class, and we discussed how close they came to knowing their partner based only on observation.

We then discussed a PowerPoint that highlighted some of the main learning objectives of Composition One and discussed how comfortable the class feels with these topics. According to our discussion, we may need to spend a little more time on thesis statements and documenting sources. This discussion naturally lead into an overview of the differences between Comp 1 and Comp 2. While Comp 1 is primarily a skills class that focuses on developing your writing skills through multiple small assignments, Comp 2 is primarily a theory class that asks you to think about the concepts of argument and rhetoric and apply your skills to a larger portfolio / project.

After the PowerPoint, we began a discussion of argument — what it is, why we need it, and how it makes us feel. A lot of students brought up words like pointless, exhausting, and going nowhere when they thought about argument. We discussed why argument can feel this way, and we also discussed ways to make argument more consensual (i.e. based on negotiation) rather than confrontational. Oftentimes, when negotiation is the goal, arguments become more productive. In addition to the differences between traditional and consensual argument, we also discussed the differences between formal and informal argument and between oral, written, and visual argument. These are all terms that you should feel familiar with in this course.



Read Wood, Chapter 2

Bring in a Visual Argument for class next week

Do the Virtual Library Assignment

Answer Review Questions 1-8 on pg. 29