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Course Arc for English 1113 and English 1213

English 1113

Assignment 1: students choose a personal value and explore its origins and development in their lives

Assignment 2: students analyze a text that represents a position different from their own to better understand the worldview of the author

Assignment 3: students use primary and secondary research to study how shared values motivate a local group's engagement with a social or political issue 

Assignment 4: students give a 5-7 minute speech on a meaningful experience they had during the course

By the end of the course, students learn key skills, such as rhetorical listening and critical inquiry, that allow them to consider the worldviews that inform public arguments. By examining their own values, the values that inform groups, and the worldviews of those who they disagree with, students actively practice slowing down argumentation. Rather than arguing immediately with the "opposition," our student are taught to spend time listening to gain a better understanding of another's persepctive. The emphasis placed on understanding the motivations behind beliefs, opinions, and actions in English 1113 prepares students to continue with the slow argument process in English 1213.

English 1213

Pitch: students give a 2 minute informal speech to their classmates in which they discuss a public issue that is important to them

Assignment 1: students research and rhetorically analyze the arguments made by key stakeholders in their chosen public issue, explaining the issue's current state and why it is unresolved

Assignment 2: students research the worldview of one indifferent or resistant stakeholder, creating a profile and a proposal for persuading that stakeholder in the next assignment

Assignment 3: students craft an argument to the stakeholder that they analyzed in the second assignment

Assignment 4: students give a 6-8 minute formal speech and a 2-minute Q & A in which they attempt to persuade their classmates on an aspect of their selected issue

Building on the skills acquired in English 1113, students continue to practice listening as they work toward intervening in a public issue. They spend time researching the complexity of their selected social or political issue, the move on to analyzing stakeholders in that issue. Using stasis theory as an analytical tool, students examine the arguments being made by stakeholders. Finally, students select a stakeholder that disagrees with them to try to persuade to think differently, relying on stasis theory to help craft their argument. By the end of the two-course sequence, students have completed the process of slow argument by taking the time to research the history and context of an issue as well as to listen to the stakeholders in that issue. Further, students learn to cultivate civic empathy, not by immediately approaching social issues in a combative manner but instead delaying argumentation for the sake of understanding. Students leave English 1213 better equipped to contribute to public discourse, having practiced a process that can lead to respectful communication and productive dialogue.