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ERIC Number: EJ1097350
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Building Intercultural Empathy through Writing: Reflections on Teaching Alternatives to Argumentation
Peirce, Karen P.
CEA Forum, v36 n2 Sum-Fall 2007
Writing assignments that focus on nonargumentative discourse can take many forms. Such assignments can prompt students to produce individually constructed writing, or they can be more collaborative in nature. They can focus on traditional formats, following MLA citation guidelines, using Times New Roman 12-point font, maintaining one-inch margins, and following standard rules of English grammar, for example, or they can stray from such ink-on-paper guidelines and allow for a broader definition of what constitutes text. The decisions made when crafting an assignment that focuses on nonargumentative discourse will depend on, as with any other assignment, the goals of the course, the tastes of the individual instructor, and the proclivities of the particular student body. In this article, the author provides her perspective on teaching nonargumentative writing to students at The University of Arizona in the Spring 2004, Fall 2004, and Spring 2005 semesters. She explains the context surrounding the courses in which she taught this assignment, describes the assignment and the rationale behind its construction, and shares student reactions to the assignment from feedback on anonymous teacher evaluation forms. The author shows that through such an assignment, students learn how to explore complex issues without closing the opportunity for dialogue across difference. As such, she suggests that teaching students to write nonargumentatively can help achieve the goal of reaching empathic understanding across cultures.
Descriptors: Reflection, Persuasive Discourse, Empathy, Nontraditional Education, Teaching Methods, Writing Assignments, Writing (Composition), Rhetoric, Writing Instruction, Writing Teachers, Feedback (Response), Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Writing Skills, Majors (Students)
College English Association. Web site: http://www.cea-web.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A