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In your initial post this unit, choose two of the following questions to answer in about a paragraph each.(Note: some of these questions are adapted from Greene and Lidinsky.)
Edmundson chooses to open his essay memorably, with an extended anecdote about student evaluations. What is the rhetorical (i.e., persuasive) effect of choosing to start out in this way? How does the story about student evaluations foreshadow Edmundson’s thesis? What was your reaction to the opening paragraphs?
What seems to be Edmundson’s thesis, or main claim? What are his major pieces of evidence that support his claim? How persuasive is this evidence to you, and why? What does Edmundson want to do differently in higher education?
How and where does Edmundson anticipate counterarguments? How effectively do you think he addresses the concerns of readers who might disagree with him? What conclusions can you draw from Edmundson’s writing about addressing resistant readers in your own writing? Is there anything in Edmundson’s writing that you might try to emulate?
Edmundson states that his goal as a teacher is not “to amuse, to divert, or even, for that matter, to be merely interesting” (390). So why does Edmundson teach, in your opinion? How is his reason for teaching related to his perspective on the purpose of higher education in general? How is his reason for teaching related to your reason for attending college?
In Chapter 4, Greene and Lidinsky present the idea of reading to discover a writer’s “frame,” “the perspective through which a writer presents his or her arguments.” What “frame” is Edmundson using? How is that frame similar or different from Freire’s?
How does Edmundson’s characterization of the contemporary university compare with your own college experience? Given the fact that Edmundson taught at a traditional, brick-and-mortar state university (the University of Virginia) and first published this essay in 1997, what sorts of updates could be added to Edmundson’s perspective? Have any of Edmundson’s predictions or recommendations come true, in your experience?
Imagine that Edmundson were teaching this academic writing course. What would he do differently? How might he organize a discussion? What would his lectures be like? How would he design writing assignments? What strategies might he use to communicate with his students?
If Freire were to respond to Edmundson’s essay, what might he say? What issues does Edmundson raise that Freire also finds important? What connections between Edmundson and Freire are most interesting to you?
In your responses, make sure to provide a full answer to all questions, referencing specific references to Freire’s and Edmundson’s texts to support your answers. (You may use quotations, paraphrases, or summaries.) For all references, use an appropriate form of documentation (MLA, APA, or another standard academic style discussed in Easy Writer.)