Using Online Role-plays toTeach ArgumentativeWriting Richard Beach NCState New Literacies workshop Slideshare:
Formulating arguments usingonline role-play/games • Select an issue • Formulate a primary argument • Choose roles and conduct research • Post arguments on a blog or online forum • Step out of roles and reflect
Collaborative arguments:(May, 2011, English Journal)• Test out different arguments o "House": determine alternative diagnoses• Find common ground to develop solutions
Through online role-play, students learn to: construct a persona employ rhetorical appeals support their position with reasons identify and refute counter-arguments revise or modify one’s own positions
Selecting an issue Selecting an issue with possible opposing positions versus a “one- sided” issue Question: What contentious issues could you use that would engage students?
Censorship: The Perks of Beinga Wallflower http://schooledthewriteway.blogspot.com/ http://wallfloweronline.blogspot.com/ http://charactershighschool.pbworks.com/ The PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association) of Maui High School is looking for feedback on the following book titles available to students through the school library and/or taught by the English department. Several parents and guardians have contacted school administrators about the questionable content and educational merit of these and other books.
Issue: Blocking websites inschools Tension: Access to sites for learning Legal protection of students from porn/problematic sites
Identifying tensions betweenpolicies and practices Today I was attempting to do some research for our next Youth Against War and Racism meeting and I came upon a school Block when I was looking for Abu Ghraib, and SURPRISE! It’s Blocked. It’s blocked for Obscene/Tasteless content. Do you know what I find Obscene and Tasteless? The idea that a school has a right to hide things from students. Are we communists that we are going to restrict what our students can know?
Social bookmarking: Diigo.com• Set up Groups based on classes• Students share bookmarks to the class• Students tag bookmarks• Students annotate online texts/sites using sticky notes
Use of Diigo: Online role-play• Sharing sites related to the topic of violence and video games• Supporting evidence: Links and sticky note comments
Using Diigo sticky notes to reflect on a role- play http://grou.ps/cwhybrid2010t1/talks/5160010/4
Role construction: Adoptingdifferent perspectivesEmoGirl: Critique of schoolInternet policies I think the internet usage policies are ridiculous. The policies are almost impossible to find. I spent half an hour trying to find them and Im a young, computer savvy person.
Students evaluated themselves by usingthe rubric below (see handout forrubric)
Students step out of roles andreflect on:• Use of arguments• Comfort in role• Targeted audiences/alliances• Who has power? o Reasons: strategies• Sense of potential change
. Students wrote a paper from their own point of view addressing a problem with Internet access
Discourses: Con studentaccess Students will access problematic/porn sites that will adversely influence them (“Strict father” cultural model” (Lakoff)) Students are not mature enough to select appropriate sites (Developmental discourse)
“Strict Father” cultural model:Charles Hammerstein III The issue with sites like YouTube is that it is a helpful site when used correctly, but the ratio of students who would use it to the students who would abuse it would greatly favor the later of the two. R-rated sites are not ok because they usually contain information and content that may be considered offensive. The internet policies are very clear, if your grandmother would not appreciate it, then you probably shouldnt be doing those kind of things at school.
Student’s reflection• I think it was a valuable learning experience because we actually got to argue back and forth with other people. If this had just been a writing assignment, it would have only been one- sided. You can use persuasive arguments in a paper but you can’t have a back and forth conversation on it. I really felt like it helped me get into someone else’s shoes and think like someone different from myself.
Topic: Identification of“unhealthy” food Issue: Should “unhealthy” food be banned from grocery stores or schools Pro: Yes: should be banned Obesity/diabeties a “national epidemic” Foods can be identified as “unhealthy” Con: No: should not be banned Difficult to distinguish “healthy/unhealthy” Negative economic consequences
Criteria for “unhealthy” food > 35% from calories > 10% calories from fat > 25% calories from total sugar High sodium >480 mg a serving Low fiber <1.25 g a serving
Results Over half (57%) of the study products were high sugar, and 53% were low in fiber. Cereals were not only high in sugar (93%), but over half (60%) were low in fiber. Over one-third (36%) of prepared foods and meals were high in sodium, Nearly one-quarter (24%) were high in saturated fat, and nearly one-third (28%) were low in fiber.
http://unhealthyfoodroleplay.ning.com Adopt a role consistent with that stance: farmer, parent, grocery store owner, nutritionist, food manufacturer, fast-food restaurant owner, scientist, teacher, student, etc. Post a position with supporting reasons/evidence . Begin by identifying your role, for example, Fast- food restaurant owner. Respond to other messages with counter- arguments