Moving from Narrative to Persuasion
Essay Basics While Workshopping the Process of Writing
Dr. L. Lennie Irvin
San Antonio College
San Antonio Writing Project
Theoretical Underpinnings and Goals of this
Assignment

Building on students’ natural capacity for
making meaning with language (Berthoff)

Writing assignments that mesh with cognitive
development and a growing ability for
abstraction (Moffett)

Teaching writing as a process and activity

Increasing students awareness of audience and rhetorical
stance
L. Lennie Irvin, San Antonio College
From Narrative to Argument/Persuasion
Moffett’s curriculum ascending the ladder of
abstraction
Theorizing—the argumentation of what will, may happen Argument
Generalizing—the exposition of what happens
Reporting—the narrative of what happened
Exposition
Narration
Recording—the drama of what is happening
Description
L. Lennie Irvin, San Antonio College
My Sequence of Assignments

building toward the higher level analysis and
argumentation of college writing


Narration/Description—The Family Story
Illustration—The Illustrative Essay
Write from
experience


Analysis
Argumentation/Persuasion
L. Lennie Irvin, San Antonio College
Write from reading
& research
The Illustrative Essay: From Narration to
Argument/Persuasion

Story


close observation, detail, descriptive techniques,
showing and not telling, sequence, narrative form
Illustration





makes point (thesis-driven); essay form (point-support)
builds concept of “showings support” through
exemplification
using stories to illustrate (show, prove, exemplify,
support)
added rhetorical layers of purpose and audience
(purpose driven)
Argumentation/persuasion (theorizing) that builds on
generalizing and reporting
L. Lennie Irvin, San Antonio College
Elastic Kernels: Moving from Narrative to
Expository or Persuasive Writing

Bernabei and Hall’s similar
approach to build other
kinds of writing from
narrative



from “what happened”
to
“what happens” or
“what should happen”
L. Lennie Irvin, San Antonio College
Assignment Goal #1:
Teaching the Basics of Essay Form



Introduction
Body—dividing up the proof
Conclusion



Essay Form
Organization—put only one primary support per Body
paragraph (in this case, one story/example per body
paragraph)
Introductions
L. Lennie Irvin, San Antonio College
Assignment Goal #2:
Encountering the Writing Situation

–What do I want to say? (message)

–Who do I want to say it to? (audience)

–Why do I want to say it to them? (purpose)


What do I want them to see, think, feel, or do when or after they read
my text?
--When/Where am I saying it? (occasion)

Within what circumstance or context?
L. Lennie Irvin, San Antonio College
Images of the Writing Situation
James Kinneavy’s Communication Triangle, A Theory of Discourse
L. Lennie Irvin, San Antonio College
Images of the Writing Situation
Mike Palmquist’s “Social Model of Writing” | [email protected]
L. Lennie Irvin, San Antonio College
Assignment Goal #3:
Encountering the Writing Process
L. Lennie Irvin, San Antonio College
Looping Through the Writing Cycle

Invention exercise(s)

Draft 3—final draft


Draft 1—zero draft



Peer Response 1
Writing Review 1 (reinvention)

Draft 2—development draft


Peer Response 2
Writing Review 2 (reinvention)
L. Lennie Irvin, San Antonio College
Peer Response 3
(Writer’s Chair; celebrate
writing)
Writing Review 3
--modeling/lessons at various
places along the way
Brainstorming: The Power of Heuristics
A heuristic is any form or
procedure that leads to
knowledge

prompting thinking!

A sequence of questions that
lead a student along a path
of consideration (they might
not otherwise have gone
down)
Infoshots from Gretchen Bernabei are
examples of heuristics
L. Lennie Irvin, San Antonio College
Kenneth Bruffee and Peer Response
“Collaborative Learning and the ‘Conversation of Mankind’”

Social construction of knowledge

“…our task [as writing teachers] must involve engaging students in
conversation among themselves at as many points in both the
writing and the reading process as possible, and that we should
contrive to ensure that students’ conversation about what they read
and write is similar in as many ways as possible to the way we
would like them eventually to read and write. The way they will
talk to each other determines the way they will think and the way
they will write” (400)
L. Lennie Irvin, San Antonio College
Assignment Goal #4:
Peer Groups/Writing Workshop

Beat Not the Poor Desk, Marie Ponsot and
Rosemary Dean


Making observations and
separating them from inferences
Peter Elbow and Pat Belanoff


Sharing and Responding
my guide on peer response
L. Lennie Irvin, San Antonio College
Assignment Goal #4:Writing Reviews
(and Rhetorical Reflection)

A chance for writers "between the drafts" to think and strategize on
paper about where they are in working on a piece of writing and where
they plan to take it.

These writing pieces ask writers to consider feedback they have received,
stand back and look at their writing, and gain some perspective. These
self-evaluations prompt students to consider their draft in light of what
they conceive to be the goal or success on this essay assignment.

From this consideration and evaluation, writers generate plans and
strategies for productively revising their essay to better reach the goals of
the particular assignment.
L. Lennie Irvin, San Antonio College
Writing Activity:
Illustrative Essay Invention
L. Lennie Irvin, San Antonio College
Viewing Student Examples
L. Lennie Irvin, San Antonio College
How Might You Use This Writing
Activity in With Your Own Classes?
L. Lennie Irvin, San Antonio College
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narr2arg - San Antonio Writing Project