Posts Tagged ‘Everything’s an Argument’

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What Chinese Students Told Me

posted: 3.28.13 by Andrea Lunsford

Flying in to Beijing from San Francisco, I wondered what I would encounter at Beihang University.  I had been invited to visit this large university in the fall of 2012 but had to postpone the trip because of back surgery.  I had hoped to learn a lot more about the university and its students in the months I gained by the postponement, but little information was forthcoming.  What I knew was that the College of Foreign Languages at Beihang has a new Department of Rhetoric and Communication and that the Dean, whose Ph.D. is in linguistics from Carnegie Mellon, wanted some U.S. scholars to visit to help establish the new department.  I was very excited about the visit, but also intimidated by the news that they wanted me to deliver two 2-hour lectures every day of the visit–and by the fact that I didn’t know my audience, a big problem to one who preaches the necessity of audience awareness!

Greeting me at the airport were two graduate students who shepherded me to the Beihang Training Center, the hotel on campus where I was staying.  Soon after, we joined a group for a quick supper in the dining hall, and then I was grateful to be able to go to bed.  The next day was my first lecture, this one to 600 first- and second-year students on why I believe rhetoric and argument are necessary to all of us today.  [read more]

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Where do you stand on the Common Core Standards?

posted: 3.21.13 by Andrea Lunsford

If you haven’t been following the national discussion on the Common Core, you may want to tune in about now.  These “standards” for math and English Language Arts, developed by a group primarily made up of administrators and policy makers, are set to take effect in 2014; some 47 states plus the District of Columbia have signed on to them.

But recently a backlash of resistance seems to be mounting, and several states (including Indiana) may be pulling out.  One of the biggest points of contention seems to center on the recommendation in the standards that students do more reading of “information” texts.  Many have reacted strongly, charging that a shift to such “informational texts” will mean the end of literature in the curriculum (see the Washington Post’s Common Core Sparks War over Words”).  [read more]

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