Sunday, 7-24-11, AP Post-Conference: Chris Baldwin on "Rhetoric"

The official program description:

This one-day workshop is designed to help teachers understand the classical art of rhetoric in its two senses: language as crafted for an audience; and the ability to find, evaluate and use all of the available tools of language to achieve a specific purpose or a desired effect in a given situation. Participants will learn effective techniques by engaging in activities that will enable them to teach their students important rhetorical theory principles - such as the importance of the unstated assumption in both the creation and analysis of arguments, the nature of arrangement and the relation of style to form - that underlie the effectiveness of excellent writers and support the clear thinking and sound judgment of successful readers.

Presenter: Christopher Baldwin

My response:

Christopher Baldwin was terrific. About five years older than I, with vast experience in both A.P. Eng. Lang. and Lit., he has obviously given many of these workshops on "Rhetoric," so he had both the standard AP spiral handout and his own dozen or so pages of handouts that he has used. He spent most of the morning demonstrating the "Aristotelian Triangle" of Subject-Audience-Writer" by spending fifteen minutes asking everyone's name, where they were from, and what experience they had in the classroom. He then alternated some of his material, since it was clear most of us had taught A.P. English before, rather than a more typical group of "Pre-A.P. English" attendees. He as the "writer" needed to understand his "audience" so he could edit and arrange his "subject" for maximum effectiveness.

He went through an explanation of the concepts of ethos, logos, and pathos and illustrated why students would find these concepts helpful, even while gently urging them to not actual spout out the terms and define them in an actual AP response. If they knew their audience of high school and college English teachers, they would realize how unnecessary that would be, Chris pointed out.

Like Kelly on Thursday, Chris distributed an official AP booklet which all seminars had, but then supplemented this with a dozen pages of his own classroom-tested-and-approved handouts as well. Although we jumped around somewhat in the morning, this resulted from relevant questions from the fifteen of us, rather than any lack of focus on the instructor. Indeed, I marveled that, like Kelly, Chris was able to constantly supply relevant examples and keep to a general structure, while still responding one-on-one to people throughout the day. After lunch, we did go through more systematically what Chris referred to as "a linear fashion" in going over his hand-outs and the blue booklet from the A.P.

Textbooks Chris Recommended:

The Compact Reader: Short Essays by Method and Theme by Jane E. Aaron, Ellen Kuhl in Books, $20 online reviews    By Jane E. Aaron, Ellen Kuhl - Bedford/St. Martin's (2007) - Paperback - 432 pages - ISBN 0312433476

From its well-chosen essays to its thorough editorial apparatus to its distinctive organization, The Compact Reader provides the fundamental support students need to write successfully. The unique dual organization — rhetorical and thematic — introduces students to essential strategies of writing while engaging them with brief readings on captivating topics. For the instructor who wants a concise, effective means for teaching students to think critically about the connection between form and content, The Compact Reader is the perfect choice.

Everyday Use (2nd Edition) [Paperback] Hephzibah C. Roskelly (Author), David A. Jolliffe (Author)

America Now: Short Readings from Recent Periodicals [Paperback] Robert Atwan (Author)

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