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John Zaixin Zhang

 
 
 

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Critical Thinking and Argumentation (Syllabus)  

2011-08-17 11:39:35|  分类: Book 4: Critical |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Critical Thinking and Argumentation                                                                     Class Email: critithink@126.com

Syllabus

       Course Objectives

       This course focuses on the writing process as an approach to teaching writing and aims to help you to exercise critical thinking and argumentation. You will learn to

1.        write valid and cogent arguments for different claims: claims of fact, value, and policy,

2.        establish credibility as a writer,

3.        consider the reader’s needs and values,

4.        analyze others’ arguments,

5.        evaluate evidence,

6.        recognize fallacies, half truths, problematic statistics in others’ writing and avoid them in your own.

Course Requirements      

Write, write, write. Seven papers, including a SES (statement, elaboration, and specifics) and a final exam, and informal writing (peer/self evaluations and a fallacy analysis) will be assigned during the semester. A late paper will be scored one letter grade (10 points) lower and must be turned in within one week of the due date, or it will be recorded as a zero. (The printout of each assignment is to be handed in to me at the end of the class of the due date and the e-version to be sent to the class email address listed at the top of this sheet). All papers must be submitted to receive course credit.

For the claim of value and claim of policy assignments, you are required to write a first draft and a revised essay (pair work):

l  First draft: claim with proof (argument, evidence, sources)

l  Revised essay (pair work): revising for content (argument and counterargument, evidence, sources), expression, organization, and mechanics (see the standards for evaluating argumentative essays at the end of this handout).

Tentative Schedule                                              

Week

   1      Diagnostic Test and Introduction

   2      Unit 1   Logos, Ethos, Pathos and Needs

   3      Unit 2   Fallacious Appeals to Emotion

   4      Unit 3   Fallacies about People

           SES assignment (200 words) due (10%)

   5      National Day Holiday

   6      Unit 4   A Claim of Fact

   7      Unit 5   Fallacies about Arguments (I)

           Claim of fact essay (400-500 words) due (10%)

   8      Unit 7   A Claim of Value

   9      Unit 6   Fallacies about Arguments (II)

           Claim of value essay (400-500 words) due (10%)

   10    Unit 8   Fallacies about Analogy

   11    Unit 9   Fallacies in Deduction and Induction

           Revised claim of value essay (600 words) due (5%)

    12   Unit 10   A Claim of Policy

    13   Unit 11   Statistics and Ambiguities

          Claim of policy essay (400-500 words) due (10%)

    14    Unit 12   Arguments for Analysis: Putting It All Together

    15    Arguments for Analysis (continued)

            Revised claim of policy essay (600 words) due (5%)

     16   Fallacy analysis (100 words) due and presentation (10%)

     TBA: Peer/self evaluations (three PEs on the first drafts, and two SEs on the revised essays), 10%.

     TBA: Final exam, 20%.

       Essays and informal writing assignments are weighted as noted above. Class participation (discussions, fallacy analyses, etc.) will count 10%. (During class discussion, students may be asked to comment on the essays they’ve read for peer evaluation.
       

Academic Honesty

       To plagiarize means “to take (words, ideas etc) from (someone else’s work) and use them in one’s own work without admitting one has done so. If you plagiarize at university in Britain or the US you may be refused a degree” (Longman Dictionary of English Language and Culture). Any act of plagiarism in this class will be reported to the dean.

 

Peer/Self Evaluation

Argumentative Essay

 

Writer’s Name_______________                Reader’s Name______________

 

       Note: The completed peer evaluation will be used again for the revised essay of this assignment, which will be a joint effort of the two partners for this evaluation. The two of you will later decide on whose draft to revise for the pair work. So, both of you are in this assignment together from now on. This evaluation needs to be turned in to the instructor in the writer’s folder for the assignment including this draft, prewriting exercises, and rough drafts, if any.

 

1. What do you see as the purpose of this essay?

 

 

2. To what specific audience do you think the essay is directed?

 

 

3. Underline the claim of the essay (thesis statement).

 

4. Is every paragraph of the paper clearly related to the thesis? Underline the topic sentence in each topic sentence paragraph.

       Yes   No   Comment:

 

 

 

5. Do the examples, references, and especially logic of the essay adequately support its argument?

       Yes   No   Comment:

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. (For a self evaluation on the revised essay only). Have you considered the concerns of the other side and countered each of those concerns? If yes, give examples. If no, list your problems here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Has the essay given you value? Has the essay succeeded in transforming you in some way? Explain.

 

 

 

 

Standards for Evaluating Argumentative Essays

 

 

                                                            

 

 

Content, 50%

 

l  Argument/counterargument

l  Evidence (facts, statistics, testimony)

l  Logic (sound reasoning, avoiding fallacies)

l  Audience (needs/values)

l  Specific details (show more than tell)

 

                                                            

 

 

Expression, 20%

 

l  Formal/informal style

l  Sentence variety (varied sentence patterns and sentence openings)

l  Effective sentence combining

l  Word choice (avoiding slang, clichés, pretentious words)

l  Emphasis (meaning alignment, brevity)

 

                                                            

 

 

 

Organization, 15%

l  Thesis statement (restricted, specific)

l  Topic sentence paragraphs (unity, paragraph development)

l  Introduction (attention-getting hook, interest-creating discussion, thesis, plan of development)

l  Conclusion (reinforcement of the main idea in fresh words, sense of completeness)

l  Transitions (between and within paragraphs)

 

                                                           

 

 

Mechanics, 15%

l  Grammar (agreement, tense, plurals, pronoun reference, modifiers, etc.)

l  Documentation (documenting sources using the MLA style)

l  Punctuation (avoiding comma splices, fused sentences, sentence fragments, and other incorrect uses of punctuation marks)

 

                                                            

 

 

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