In each Commentary, the student is to discuss one of the readings found at Module 3 at the Canvas site, Model Essays (either one of the General Interest Essays or one of the Model Student Essays).
To prepare for writing the Commentary, the student should read and review the subject essay as many times as needed to fully understand the essay. The student should then develop the thesis statement for this Commentary and an outline for the Commentary. The student should apply appropriate critical thinking skills and offer a personal interpretation of, explication for, criticism of, or observation about the selected essay.
For example, the student may respond to the essay, indicating what the student did or did not like about the essay, or the student may agree with or disagree with the subject matter of the selected essay writer’s conclusion. The student may evaluate the subject essay, commenting on whether or not the student accepts the premises or conclusions in the selected essay; whether or not the author of the selected essay made a sound case and proved the position taken in the selected essay; whether or not the selected essay has any merit, or any similar evaluation; whether or not the student relates her or his personal experience to that of the author of the selected essay, such as exploring the reaction to the subject essay or interpreting the meaning perceived in the subject essay. These are among the kinds of approaches that the student can take in the Commentary on the selected subject essay.
The Foundation for Critical Thinking, in its booklet “Student Guide to Historical Thinking,” describes critical thinking as thinking about any subject or content or topic such that the
In-Class Writing 1 Updated May 12, 2019
In-Class Writing 2 Updated May 12, 2019
understanding of the subject or content or topic is improved through analysis and assessment, an expansion of the information about the subject, content, or topic..
Put more simply, critical thinking is analysis—the desire to seek, the patience to doubt, and the willingness to consider what you know or think you know about a topic—and assessment—a slowness to assert and a carefulness about what is accepted or disposed of what you know or think you know.
Further, critical thinking is the same analysis and assessment about what you do not know or about what is new to you—an openness and willingness to seek, and to doubt, and to consider alternatives to what you know or think you know—because learning something new will allow you to grow in knowledge and understanding.
Argumentation is primarily logical argument: thesis, main points, evidence to prove the main points, and organization (and outlining) of the main points and evidence. As you go through this intellectual process, you are applying, or should be applying, the skills of critical thinking. Consider this proposition. As you listen to the television (or cable) or radio news or to talk radio, or while you read your favorite newspaper or news magazine, identify and discuss a good argument taken by an influential person in the news and ask yourself to explain how the person used sound argumentation or persuasion while convincing you that his or her argument is sound or valid.
For this assignment, in place of a radio or cable or television news program or a newspaper or news magazine, the student is reading and responding to one of the Model Essays at Module 3. Consider the argumentation and the evidentiary support in the selected essay and develop the assessment and conclusion reached. To complete this task and arrive at an informed conclusion requires applying the skills of critical thinking. Completing the exercise of critical thinking is the function of the Commentary assignment.
The first page of the essay and all subsequent pages will follow the MLA Documentation and Format. All writings are double-spaced; if the submission is not double-spaced, it will not be accepted. Most software programs are pre-set with Calibri, but your instructor prefers Arial or Times New Roman; the type must be either 11 or 12 point type, to make reading the writings more “comfortable.” Some software programs on some computers, personal and in the HCC labs, are not pre-set to double-space nor to indent an automatic 1⁄2“ (0.5) at the beginning of each new paragraph; many do not have a 1” margin top, bottom, left, and right. (I will not accept a submission that is not set-up align left – and do not use “justify.”) These requirements may have to be individually set to have the correct essay format.
The Identification is prescribed by the MLA and modeled in your textbook, Chapter 24.1, p 376. All pages must be identified with the writer’s last name and a page number in a header (1⁄2“ from the top) in the upper right-hand corner of the page. There is no cover page. The Commentary does not require a Works Cited page, but it is important to be familiar with the formatting for a Works Cited page; if the student uses secondary source documentation in the Commentary, however, a Works Cited page is then mandatory.
The Commentary should be at least one-plus pages long, with a minimum of three (3) paragraphs (an introduction, at least one body paragraph, although it could be longer, and a conclusion). Any other questions, ask.