One of the hardest things to teach in Composition 101 English courses is the argument. Actually, that is probably one of the hardest things to teach in general: the nuances of research, the validity of the opposing opinion, the supporting claims, and independent, yet academic voice.
To break the seal and introduce my 101 students to the Everything’s an Argument Unit, I asked them to write a series of short writings (about 300 words each) on what they know best—themselves. Extending over a week, part one included the ever-so famous visual rhetorical assignment based on an advertisement found in a magazine or online. Students brought these ads to class, discussed the message, effectiveness, not so effectiveness, of the ad while using keys terms such as ethos, logos, pathos.
Part two is where it started to get interesting. I asked the students to find a photograph of themselves which proves an important point about what they stand for. I asked them to start thinking about how what they stand for is a type of argument. I asked them to think about how they are an argument. This was not easy and I got a lot of moaning and groaning, but today I would like to share with you one of the Why I am an Argument statements that completely reaffirmed why I believed this assignment to be important in the first place. Although it was tough, the students were courageous in being so open and vulnerable during this writing process. I applaud them all.
Please enjoy writing on Why I am an Argument by Ashley Aniton. GMU freshman.
+++++++++++++I am not who I should be, I am who I am.
Why am I an argument, I am an argument because I am a force to be reckoned with. I’m a peaceful and gentle soul with the wisdom to steer myself down the right paths. I am an argument for all African Americans. I am a myth debunker; I am here to let everyone know that we are not all statistics and that we strive for excellence in everything we do. We are not all teen parents with absent fathers, high school drop-outs and jail birds.
I am an argument through my expression in the clothes I wear. I express myself through my many styles. I am contemporary, and modern, some days I am as hippie as Erika Badu, others times I am classy like the uptown version of Marylyn Monroe, and I am flashy like the girls in a magazine. It is my view that a woman should dress like a lady, not necessarily in dresses and skirts or to make her step back in time, but simply elegant so that she is not exposed and things are left to be a mystery.
I represent a strong and prolific community, and as many setbacks as we have come across as a people we remain strong. I am a poster child for education and I am special because I have my own views on life and the knowledge to voice them.
As human beings we begin life trying to find our way and our position in society; I am developing my own way and I am learning how to find what works in my life. We must learn who we are inside and out and who we want to become. I am Ashley Aniton and I want to leave no stone unturned. I will become an U.S. diplomat with the aspirations of working with The United Nations— my duty in life is to save the world.
Enjoy what you just read? Support feminist teachings in the classroom and tell Ashley your thoughts! Look forward to more statements of argument from my students over the next couple of weeks.
♥ Sheila M