Using Mind Maps to Analyze and Assess Reasoning

Mind map depicting arguments about traffic congestion

Chris Ortiz y Prentice raises an interesting question in “Why we just can’t seem to teach logos.” As Chris says, analysis challenges both instructors and students as we struggle to understand the multi-faceted Greek term “logos.” Given rhetoric’s long and at times contentious relationship with formal logic, I agree that we should take a broader approach to the analysis of reasoning in persuasive texts.

Bringing the Uncanny into the Classroom

Sepia photo of doll dressed in frontier-style dress with rocking horse

As cliché as it sounds, as an English teacher I've always thought it one of my tasks to make literature come alive in the classroom by sustaining a sense of engagement and connection in class. While generally this entails rather obvious things like talking to students rather than lecturing at them, and engaging on a one to one level, I find it takes more than this to really drum up interest about our texts. To this end I try to show them how literature that may be one or two hundred years old still lives on, in important ways, in our own lives.

Mapping Community

Old illustrated map of Austin, Texas

In my RHE 309S: Critical Reading and Persuasive Writing course at UT Austin, my students are spending the semester studying communities of their choice. The first paper asked students to "map" their community, charting the people, places, events, social practices, and issues that help the community define and organize itself while also examining arguments made about the community. This assignment resembles one of our main first-year writing assignments which asks students to map the arguments made in response to a specific critical situation or issue.


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