Friday, December 4, 2009

A Boot in the Door

To community college students, writing persuasively often includes a big, clunky push toward the reader's assention. The Rogerian argument, however, attempts for only a certain degree of agreement, and this is something that's hard to understand. After struggling all term with teaching this concept, I found the perfect vessel the other night.

I had tucked Rees in bed, and threatened him with closing the door all the way if he got out for any reason (long story short, bedtime around here had become a total joke). Of course, he tested me--for a "drink of water"--and I had to shut his door.

When I checked on him later, there was a crack in his doorway; wedged between the door and the frame was a Playmobil cowboy's little brown boot. The crack it made was just enough to assure Reesie that monsters wouldn't get him in the darkness, but not too much to make me realize the door was open.

The next day when I told my students about the boot, they understood the analogy completely. Their essays were strong but respectful.

During the break, I'm planning on rummaging through the Playmobil bin, curious to other teaching tools that might be in there, and wondering how I can use the mummified skeleton.

4 comments:

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Great analogy, Jennie - I may have to try it with my high school comp. classes! :)

Jennie Englund said...

Yes, Shannon! And let me know how it works...

Amy Whitley said...

Oh. Lovely analogy to be sure. And a bit poignant. I'm glad I found your blog! I didn't know you had one!

Jennie Englund said...

I do, Amy, and you do, too! LOVE it!