Problem Library

Examining & Practicing Genre & Rhetoric: Problem Two–National Citizens Forum

Length: 6+ Hours

Discipline: Composition and Rhetoric

Level: Intermediate (non-majors)

Author: Kumar, Rita

This is the second problem in a set of three that sets up simulations of real-world scenarios and then asks students to think and write about them. In a world of rapidly changing communication methods, college-level writers must not only understand the conventions of traditional academic writing, but must learn to think critically and to write about and in various genres. One way to help students learn to do this is via communication problems based on parallels to real-world events. The first problem by Claudia Skutar involves students in developing a founding document. This second problem requires students to defend an important right(s) that they have identified earlier in the founding document and argue for it using reliable sources. The second problem is connected to the first problem in content but expects students to develop their writing skills further. The problem encourages students to find sources, evaluate and analyze them as they construct their arguments in defense of a right. The problem design prompts students to explore different genres and voices to meet the rhetorical demands of the scenario presented by the problem. Students are pushed to work collaboratively and think critically as they need to produce both an individual and collective product. For example, students seek ways to incorporate information from their individual products to create a collective document that exemplifies a different genre and voice. The final problem by Brenda Refaei requires students to use their newfound skills to address a social issue. Students adopt roles related to their majors to write about social issues as someone in their desired field would.

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