ERIC Number: ED200973
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Using Letters to the Editor as Teaching Examples: Some Opening Strategies for Instructors of Persuasive Discourse.
The opportunity to discover the flaws in newspaper letters to the editor and to evaluate the ensuing consequences can help beginning persuasive writing students, who have had little practice at forming arguments, begin to conceptualize for themselves the ways that principles of persuasive discourse apply in particular writing situations. The study and application of these principles can provide a point of departure from which students can advance their reading and writing to more complex forms of argument. For example, two writing assignments based on class analysis of a letter concerning the hostage crisis in Iran first showed the students how the letter's language was working to reveal the writer and then how the students' language would characterize them as surely as the language of the first writer. An assignment in which the need to integrate emotions and values was essential to their argument sharpened the students' focus on the way language functions in persuasion. Overall, the students' close attention to language got them beneath the surface of each letter of the motives and judgments behind the words. (HTH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Letters to the Editor
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (32nd, Dallas, TX, March 26-28, 1981).