Reflection: Student Communication Close Reading: "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift - Section 2: Group Discussion of Rhetoric


The formative assessment element of having an open conversation worked very well today, to the point where I ended up having the class “re-read” (as in, read it for the first time), because at least half of them were clearly trying to figure out what the fuss was all about.  I gave a little ‘tough love’ speech, too, emphasizing that I am not going to treat them like freshmen and give reading quizzes;  they have an important test coming up, and reading at home is part of that preparation—it is up to them to do it.  It wasn’t long, and the reading time tempered the change of tone in the class so we were still able to have a fun conversation about the piece, and the whole class got involved due to the previous speech.   A particular rhetorical appeal we talked about was the emphasis on logical appeal within the absurd proposal—that logic is actually a key component of satire because it forces people to look critically at, and laugh at, their own lapses in logic.  This conversation led to a kind of critique of our own culture based on one of the textbook questions that asks whether people would be more or less offended by the proposal now.  While we can’t know for sure what it was like then, the kids talked about how there would be all sorts of groups out for blood because of a proposal like this—but that it would serve the same purpose of bringing up the topic for discussion (maybe even more so!).

  Tough Love About Academic Responsibility
  Student Communication: Tough Love About Academic Responsibility
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Close Reading: "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift

Unit 10: Deepening Rhetorical Analysis
Lesson 9 of 10

Objective: SWBAT establish the central ideas and rhetorical strategies of complex older texts.

Big Idea: Considering the rhetorical situation and connections to the modern world are good strategies for entry into complex older texts.

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9 teachers like this lesson
English / Language Arts, satire, close reading, rhetorical analysis, A Modest Proposal, Jonathan Swift
  60 minutes
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