No matter where students’ lives lead after graduation, one of the
most essential tools we can teach them is how to comprehend, analyse and
respond to arguments. Students need to know how writers’ and speakers’ choices
are shaped by elements of the rhetorical situation, including audience,
occasion and purpose. In Teaching
Arguments, Jennifer Fletcher provides teachers with engaging classroom
activities, writing prompts, graphic organisers and student samples to help
students at all levels read, write, listen, speak and think rhetorically.
Jennifer believes that, with appropriate scaffolding and
encouragement, all students can learn a rhetorical approach to argument and
gain access to rigorous academic content. Teaching
Arguments opens the door and helps them pay closer attention to the acts of
meaning around them, to notice persuasive strategies that might not be apparent
at first glance. When we analyse and develop arguments, we have to consider
more than just the printed words on the page. We have to evaluate multiple
perspectives; the tension between belief and doubt; the interplay of reason,
character and emotion; the dynamics of
occasion, audience and purpose; and how our own identities shape what we read
and write. Rhetoric teaches us to do these things.
Teaching Arguments will help students learn to move beyond
superficial response to texts so they can analyse and craft sophisticated,
persuasive arguments – a major cornerstone for being not just ready for
tertiary education or a career, but for the challenges of the world.