PRO TIP: SPREAD OUT YOUR WORK
To get the most out of these assignments, engage the Ungar piece on Wednesday, then study for the post test and do the writing assignment on Thursday.
Task 1 – Engage Sanford J. Ungar’s “7 Major Misperceptions About the Liberal Arts” – 30-45 minutes
Learning targets: active and critical reading, pre-reading, annotation, studying
- Take this pre-test on “7 Major Misperceptions About the Liberal Arts” before you read the article.
- Print, read and annotate “7 Major Misperceptions About the Liberal Arts”
- When annotating, make notes that help you locate and understand the ideas Ungar criticizes and the ideas he endorses. Also, make notes that connect your own work and education experiences to his thoughts by asking yourself which of your experiences confirm or challenge his ideas. Lastly, make note of where your own view is similar to or different from Ungar’s and explain the gist of the similarity or difference in the margins of the reading.
- To print the article, you’ll first have to make a PDF of it and then print it for free at the library or Ripich Commons using this link.
- Study for a closed-book post-test to be taken in class on Friday. You will have 7 minutes for the post-test, so be on-time to class and be prepared.
Task 2 – Practice Summary and Integrating Your Ideas With Those of Others – About 30-40 minutes
Learning targets for this assignment: writing fast, informal writing for comprehension and idea development, practice summary with a point, connect/integrate your own response to the ideas of another writer, practice signal phrasing, try using pivotal words, use informal writing to improve comprehension and think new thoughts.
1. Read and understand this entire post before starting work.
2. Even if you feel like you might be “doing it wrong,” make it a goal to practice the targeted skills listed above and meet the word count.
Word count target: 350-400 words.
The Task: Use the They Say/I Say formula to first summarize and then respond to the views of at least one of the writers who’s views on the purpose of college we have encountered this week. Our writers this week have been Ronald Barnett, Martha Nussbaum, and Sanford Ungar.
The They Say Segment of Your Writing
In the They Say portion of your writing, summarize the ideas you intend to respond to in a way that a) the writer him- or herself will agree is fair and accurate and b) that will be readily understood by someone who had not read their work.
You won’t be able to meet this criteria in just a few sentences. To convey the densely-packed ideas in Barnett, Nussbaum or Ungar may require you to write 2 or 3 times as many words as they did.
Be sure to use direct quotes and paraphrases (and signal phrases with good signal verbs) to convey the other writer’s ideas.
Also try two or more of these moves: define key terms in context, give examples to clarify complex ideas, shine a spotlight on important ideas by pointing them out, explaining why they’re important, and using them in your argument, put their ideas under a microscope to examine how the parts of their ideas fit (or don’t fit) together, pull back the curtains on the writer’s assumptions or values, fill in the gaps left unsaid, and/or connect-the-dots for your reader.
The I Say Segment of Your Writing – Part 1
In the I Say portion of your writing, don’t just give your viewpoint. Instead, tie whatever you want to say to something specific that the other writer has said. Topic sentences in this section should a) point back to something the other writer has said by including key words or phrases from it and b) give your reader a sense of your viewpoint about the ideas, questions, or issues raised by the other writer.
Ungar himself gives us a good example of this kind of topic sentence in the first line of the fourth paragraph of his essay:
“No one could be against equipping oneself for a career. But the ‘career education’ bandwagon seems to suggest shortcuts are available to students that lead directly to high-paying jobs–leaving out ‘frills’ like learning how to write and speak well, how to understand the nuances of literary texts and scientific concepts, how to collaborate with others on research.”
Notice how Ungar uses the pivot word “but” at the start of the second sentence to show that even though he agrees that one useful purpose for college is to prepare students for a career, he believes that the way the other side (the ‘career education’ bandwagon) has framed the issue is short-sighted and overly-simplistic. Notice, too, how Ungar uses voice markers like seems to suggest and the scare quotes (“scare quotes”) around the word frills to signal his own dismissive attitude towards the idea he is ventriloquizing: namely, that colleges and students should focus exclusively on career education. You should use pivot words and voice markers in your own writing.
The I Say Segment of Your Writing – Part 2
Once you’ve set the topic for the paragraph by connecting your response to something specific the other writer as said, you should build on what the writer says or take another side by describing your own experiences or the experiences of those you have known or read/heard about and/or explaining what’s right or wrong with or useful or impractical about the other writer’s views. You might consider connecting the reasons why you chose to go to college and why you chose UNE to respond to the other writer’s views.
Don’t end your writing with just a criticism or endorsement of another writer’s view. Be sure to add value by offering your own ideas about the value or purpose of a college education. Even if you started this exercise without solid ideas of your own, the act of thinking through another writer’s views should help you decide what you think.