Writing Tips & Tricks
It's almost funny to think that parents pay me to teach their kids to argue, but I'm happy and proud to say they do. One of the most important benefits of learning to write well is that it gives a child a voice. I am always impressed by the ideas that start to flow from previously reluctant writers, once I begin to ask them their opinions. These kids have something to say, but they lack confidence in their ability to clearly convey their thoughts.
Some of my students are working on Reginald Rose's classic play "Twelve Angry Men." I have found that this is a great way to help students understand argumentative technique. Once students can differentiate between the types of appeals being made in an argument, they are not only able to use them in their own writing, but recognize them in the arguments of others. I take my students through Aristotle's basic categories to teach these techniques: appeals to authority (ethos), appeals to logic (logos) and appeals to emotions (pathos). I'm always impressed by how quickly they are able to grasp these ideas! Recognizing appeals is just another important step towards strengthening critical thinking.