Eleven Steps for Writing the Persuasive Essay

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Pre-Write. Step 1 gather usable info from sources underline or highlight info in your articles that you didn't previously know/understand OR anything that seems important to know about this issue. Step 2. Make a Pros/Cons List ? Are you for or against your topic? Is it a good thing or a bad thi

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Eleven Steps for Writing the Persuasive Essay

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1. Eleven Steps for Writing the Persuasive Essay Rhetoric and Composition

2. Pre-Write Step 1 gather usable info from sources underline or highlight info in your articles that you didn’t previously know/understand OR anything that seems important to know about this issue

3. Step 2 Make a Pros/Cons List – Are you for or against your topic? Is it a good thing or a bad thing or somewhere in between? You have to know where you stand on the issue to write persuasively about it, and this process will help you figure out which side of the issue is right for you. If your PROS list has more entries, you should write from a pro-____ stance; if CONS, write from a con- _____ stance. Pros (For, Positive, Good) teaches team work, obeying rules, competition physically active students seem to have greater confidence, connection to school, esteem among peers health improvement Cons (Against, Negative, Bad) overrides emphasis on education alienates the non-athlete

4. Step 3 – Combine your lists with evidence from your articles Pros 1. teaches team work, obeying rules, competition – “Another educational aspect, as important as physical and mental well being, is related to the inherent values that sports transmit: respect for rules; rejection of cheating, meaning to seek victory at any price; . respect of the winner for the loser, as well as the loser’s acceptance that the winner is the best at that moment”

5. 2. physically active students seem to have greater confidence, connection to school, esteem among peers “High school girls who play sports are less likely to be involved in an unwanted pregnancy; more likely to get better grades in school and more likely to graduate than girls who do not play sports” “As little as four hours of exercise a week may reduce a teenage girl's risk of breast cancer by up to 60%; breast cancer is a disease that afflicts one out of every eight American women.” (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 1994) “40% of women over the age of 50 suffers from osteoporosis (brittle bones). (Osteoporosis, 1996) “None of us should want our daughters to repeat the experiences of generations of women -- our mothers and grandmothers -- who were not permitted to play sports or encouraged to participate in weight-bearing exercises that are necessary to establishing bone mass.” “Girls and women who play sports have higher levels of confidence and self esteem and lower levels of depression “ “Girls and women who play sports have a more positive body image and experience higher states of psychological well-being than girls and women who do not play sports.” “Sport is where boys have traditionally learned about teamwork, goal-setting, the pursuit of excellence in performance and other achievement-oriented behaviors -- critical skills necessary for success in the workplace. In an economic environment where the quality of our children's lives will be dependent on two-income families, our daughters cannot be less prepared for the highly competitive workplace than our sons. It is no accident that 80% of the female executives at Fortune 500 companies identified themselves as former "tomboys" - having played sports.”

6. 3. health improvement – “Smear the mirror. Students take turns using whipped cream to smear parts of their reflection they don't like, e.g., the fat they have accrued from never doing a damn thing in gym class.”

7. Cons 1. overrides emphasis on education – “National Collegiate Athletic Association data indicate that in 1991, virtually every major Division I traditionally White university had higher proportions of Blacks in its football and basketball programs than in its general student populations. (At the University of California at Berkeley, for instance, NCAA figures show that while only 6.9 percent of all students enrolled were Black, 53.3 percent of the basketball players where Black as were 43.5 percent of the football players. Further, many of the athletes enrolled were admitted with test scores and high school grade-point averages that were lower than the test scores and grade-point averages of non-athlete Black students whose admission applications were rejected.)” 2. alienates the unathletic – personal anecdote – UIL letter jacket

8. Introduction Paragraph + Thesis: Step 4 – Thesis: NO TO BE VERBS – Need this first so you know what your intro should lead up to. Defend: A well-rounded education must include sports. Challenge: The emphasis on sports in public education distracts students from their studies. Challenge: While a well-rounded education should include sports, the current emphasis on sports in public education distracts students from their studies.

9. Intro Options – Choose one and write it and then add your thesis to the end of the paragraph Startling statement Anecdote Quotation In Medias Res Dialogue Question or Problem Personal Reflection Description Contrast Describe topic without naming it Rhetorical question Historical Background Explanation of Thesis

10. Introduction Options Step 5 – Introduction Choose an approach and write your introduction paragraph for your issue. You MUST INCLUDE YOUR THESIS in this paragraph.

11. Quotation “When the game ends and the glory fades, educated students will be the ultimate winners.”

12. Anecdote UIL letter jacket I wouldn’t wear because I knew I’d be made fun of; family emphasis on athletics over education – cousin who was a jock and parents didn’t care that he slacked off in classes. He went to a private college on a football scholarship and flunked out because he had no study skills – wasted thousands of dollars on school because he failed.

13. Startling Statement At the University of California at Berkeley, for instance, NCAA figures show that while only 6.9 percent of all students enrolled were Black, 53.3 percent of the basketball players where Black as were 43.5 percent of the football players.

14. question or problem Andy knows that to get into college he needs a well-rounded transcript – honors classes and extra-curricular activities and all that – but he also needs a baseball scholarship to be able to afford college, even junior college. So how does he divide his time?

15. dialogue – “Hey, you done that paper yet?” “No way, man. I just got home.” “Well, you’d better get on it. I’ve been working on mine all night and I’m not done yet. It’s harder than I thought.” “Great. Just what I needed to hear ...” “Hey, you should’ve worked on it earlier. Where you been, anyway? I thought your game started at 5:30.” “It did, but Coach made us stay for the varsity game. Said we needed to support our teammates. He never cares about our homework unless we’re failing a class.” “That sucks. Well, I guess you’d better go do some writing.” “Man, it’s already eleven ... I think I’m just gonna take a zero. I’m too tired to do a paper now.”

16. in medias res The buzzer sounded and the roar of the crowd hit him like a wave. But they weren’t cheering for him. His desperate three point shot had circled the rim and bounced out as the clock ticked down to zero. They’d lost in the final seconds ... again. Walking off the court, he knew what was waiting for him in the locker room – coach’s disappointed post-game speech, the one where he lists all the screw-ups in tonight’s loss and insists on an earlier practice time in the morning. There was a paper due in Rhet Comp tomorrow, but he already knew he was going to take a zero. He just didn’t have it in him to do homework tonight.

17. contrast – He walks through the halls with his letterman jacket and his friends walk behind him laughing as he pushes the smaller, the weaker against the lockers on his way to class. He’s not in any hurry, though, because the rules don’t apply to him – he’s the quarterback. Teachers take his work late because they know they’ll hear about it from the coach if they don’t. He always passes his classes because the team needs him for the play-offs. Maybe he’ll make it to college and maybe he won’t, but for right now he’s a god. Knowing he’s invincible here, he shoves into that nerdy kid with the giant backpack and glasses, the one that always knows the answers in class. There are no exceptions to the late work policy for this kid. A tardy counts against him. And he’s making sure he passes because he needs to go to college and no one is going to cover for him if he fails. But which student is more prepared for a successful life?

18. contrast He walks through the halls with his letterman jacket and his friends walk behind him laughing as he pushes the smaller, the weaker against the lockers on his way to class. He’s not in any hurry, though, because the rules don’t apply to him – he’s the quarterback. Teachers take his work late because they know they’ll hear about it from the coach if they don’t. He always passes his classes because the team needs him for the play-offs. Maybe he’ll make it to college and maybe he won’t, but for right now he’s a god. Knowing he’s invincible here, he shoves into that nerdy kid with the giant backpack and glasses, the one that always knows the answers in class. There are no exceptions to the late work policy for this kid. A tardy counts against him. And he’s making sure he passes because he needs to go to college and no one is going to cover for him if he fails. But which student is more prepared for a successful life?

19. Description of the topic that does not name it From elementary on, kids find that their time to just be a kid grows shorter and shorter. Weekend practices or competitions are how it starts, and eventually, as they enter middle school and high school, they find that their time to relax and have fun has disappeared amidst after-school practices and homework. There aren’t enough hours in the day, and something’s got to give.

20. Personal reflection As a teacher, I understand the demands that school and sports put on my students time, but I consistently find that students, parents, and coaches are putting a greater emphasis on preparation for extra-curricular sports than they are on the academics.

21. idea to be refuted Participation in sports positively impacts high school students.

22. historical background No pass-no play was made law in Texas in 1984 as a way to promote emphasis on study before participation in extra-curricular activities, particularly sports.

23. explanation of the thesis Sports provide an opportunity for physical development, increase confidence, and teach the rules of fair play, but sometimes the emphasis on sports detracts from the emphasis on academic study.

24. Rhetorical Question Isn’t it time that the focus of our public schools shifted from football championships to literacy?

25. Sample Intro Paragraph The buzzer sounded and the roar of the crowd hit him like a wave. But they weren’t cheering for Andy. His desperate three point shot had circled the rim and bounced out as the clock ticked down to zero. They’d lost in the final seconds ... again. Walking off the court, he knew what was waiting for him in the locker room – coach’s disappointed post-game speech, the one where he lists all the screw-ups in tonight’s loss and insists on an earlier practice time in the morning. There was a paper due in Rhet Comp tomorrow, but he already knew he was going to take a zero. He just didn’t have it in him to do homework tonight. So frequently, this is the case – students take part in extra-curricular activities, but their academic work is pushed to the side and the aspects of high school that are “extra-curricular” become the focus. While a well-rounded education should include sports, the current emphasis on sports in public education distracts students from their studies.

26. Logical Appeal Body Paragraph Step 6 – Find your appeals. Look through you pros/cons list and determine which arguments are logical (logos), emotional (pathos), and ethical (ethos). Labeling these lets you know where to put them in your essay.

27. Step 7 – Body Paragraph – create a logical appeal Facts as evidence – statistics and facts from articles Appeal to tradition – how has this issue been viewed in the past Appeal to authority – quotes from experts in your articles Effective metaphors – quote a metaphor from an article or create your own

28. facts as evidence – look to your articles for support here. An emphasis on athletics that takes priority over academics can create a disadvantaged cultural group when, as National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) data confirmed at the University of California at Berkeley, “many of the [Black] athletes enrolled were admitted with test scores and high school grade-point averages that were lower than the test scores and grade-point averages of non-athlete Black students whose admission applications were rejected” (Edwards).

29. reliance on authority – again, your articles According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), participation in sports teaches important aspects of participation in society such as, “respect for rules, rejection of cheating, … and respect of the winner for the loser, as well as the loser’s acceptance that the winner is the best at that moment” (UNESCO). However, Brenda Wellburn, National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) executive notes, “When the game ends and the glory fades, educated students will be the ultimate winners” (NASBE).

30. tradition – what do you know about how this issue is perceived traditionally. America loves its sports heroes, and looking at the profitable sale of sports memorabilia from baseball cards to jerseys proves it. We hold in great esteem those men like Brett Favre and Deion Sanders, Larry Byrd and Michael Jordan, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, and countless other great athletes because of their physical accomplishments. But how many of America’s greatest minds can we list? We, as a country, have a long history of valuing brawn over brain. But brain is what keeps us moving forward. It is our greatest national trust. And when we constantly devalue education in favor of athletics, we set a precedent that strong and stupid is acceptable, even preferable to strong and smart.

31. effective metaphors Athletics and academics are the separate halves of a healthy whole. A student needs activity to remain physically healthy and to prevent the physical corruption of illness or obesity, but without the necessary psychological development that study provides, we will create a generation of physically developed drones, unable to think for themselves and susceptible to the mental corruption born of a thoughtless existence.

32. Sample Logos Paragraph NOW, help me connect 3 of these into 1 paragraph: According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), participation in sports teaches important aspects of participation in society such as, “respect for rules, rejection of cheating, … and respect of the winner for the loser, as well as the loser’s acceptance that the winner is the best at that moment” (UNESCO). However, Brenda Wellburn, National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) executive notes, “When the game ends and the glory fades, educated students will be the ultimate winners” (NASBE). But the fact remains that America loves its sports heroes. We hold in great esteem those men like Brett Favre and Jerry Rice, Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman, Roger Clemens and Brad Ausmus, and countless other great athletes because of their physical accomplishments. But how many of America’s greatest minds can we list? We, as a country, have a long history of valuing brawn over brain. Brain is what keeps us moving forward. It is our greatest national trust. And when we constantly devalue education in favor of athletics, we set a precedent that strong and stupid is acceptable, even preferable to strong and smart. Schools need to emphasize that athletics and academics are the separate halves of a healthy whole. A student needs activity to remain physically healthy and to prevent the physical corruption of illness or obesity, but without the necessary psychological development that study provides, we will create a generation of physically developed drones, unable to think for themselves and susceptible to the mental corruption born of a thoughtless existence.

33. Logos Options Remember to use 3 of the 4 following approaches in your LOGOS paragraph: Facts as evidence – statistics and facts from articles Appeal to tradition – how has this issue been viewed in the past Appeal to authority – quotes from experts in your articles Effective metaphors – quote a metaphor from an article or create your own

34. Pathos Paragraph Step 8: Emotional Appeal (Pathos) – Choose 3 appeals listed below to incorporate into this paragraph. Repetition Vivid diction Metaphors References to groups of people whose situation arouses pity Alliteration Use a specific example (like a person’s story) from one of your sources to incorporate here OR, if that doesn’t work, use a personal anecdote as the subject of the paragraph.

35. Sample Pathos Paragraph In my family, respect is given based on shiny trophies, brightly-colored ribbons, and the number of patches on the letterman jacket. High school sports are the culminating lifetime achievement for all of the older generation who never left their hometown and never went to college, and when my cousin and I were in high school at the same time, I realized the disparity. Cory, a hulking 6’4”, two hundred plus pound football player, was never more than a mediocre student. He refused to do more than necessary to just scrape by, and my aunt and uncle didn’t mind. They knew that when he got to college, he would work hard and study. I, on the other hand, had dropped both volleyball and tennis by the time my senior year rolled around and had loaded up on Advanced Placement courses and other extra-curricular activities like newspaper and honor society. There was no doubt I was the nerd, but it didn’t bother me to be left out; I knew that the nerds would inherit the earth. Two years into college I had transferred to a prestigious liberal arts college; my cousin, who had been accepted to a private school and offered a partial football scholarship, had flunked out. Cory never had a chance to be a professional athlete, but his entire educational experience had been focused on sports, not school, so he had no idea how to study when he had the opportunity. I asked him what happened, and he said, “I guess I should have learned how to handle school when it was free.” That’s a hard and expensive lesson to learn, for both Cory and his parents. The odds that a high school athlete will grow up to become a professional athlete are slim, but the odds that many of them can go to college and improve their chances for a career are great. It seems that the wise bet is to prepare students for the most likely scenario.

36. Ethos Paragraph Step 9: Ethical Appeal (Ethos) – Choose 2 of these strategies. Appealing to your own credibility – As a teacher, I see the strain on students in both rigorous courses and competitive sports. Using calm, dispassionate language – Don’t name-call, use exclamations or expletives, or hyperbole. What NOT to do: All the dumb jocks think they’ll be making 5 million dollars a year, but they’ll be lucky to serve me Chick-Fil-A if they don’t learn to read a book. Aligning yourself with respected authorities – use a quote from your article: I believe that NASBE executive officer Brenda Wellburn is right when she says that “It is the absolute least we can do as educators, as responsible adults, and as sports enthusiasts who have had the pleasure of watching these student-athletes compete” (NASBE).

37. Sample Ethos Paragraph As a teacher, I see the strain on students in both rigorous courses and competitive sports. I understand the desire to play, to be a part of a team, and to have that greater connection with a school that sports allows. But I believe that NASBE executive officer Brenda Wellburn is right when she says that providing a solid education “is the absolute least we can do as educators, as responsible adults, and as sports enthusiasts who have had the pleasure of watching these student-athletes compete” (NASBE). It is our responsibility to realistically prepare students for the world they will face when they leave high school. We want the highlight reels of their lives to include moments beyond the high school years. What happens when a student like Andy, who has spent his entire secondary education focused on sports so that he can become a professional athlete, injures himself in his senior year? If his entire self-worth is dependent only on sports, what is left for him to look forward to? What options are available to make his life better now?

38. Refutation Paragraph Step 10: Refutation – Acknowledge the other side of the argument by using a quote and counter with your own point/solution. Other side’s strongest point: “80% of the female executives at Fortune 500 companies identified themselves as former "tomboys" - having played sports” – but as any of these people will tell you, athletic pursuits were in tandem with academic pursuits (Women’s Sports Foundation). My response: Education, not athletic ability, is what landed these women in Fortune 500 companies in the first place

39. Refutation Sample Paragraph There are many students who successfully balance the demands of athletics and academics; just as there are many students who use their physical abilities to fund their education. Sports can balance an academic life. In fact, “80% of the female executives at Fortune 500 companies identified themselves as former "tomboys" - having played sports” – but as any of these people will tell you, athletic pursuits were in tandem with academic pursuits (Women’s Sports Foundation). Education, not athletic ability, is what landed these women in Fortune 500 companies in the first place. So a change in focus, a shift to the practical intellectual preparation for a higher standard of living after high school, is all that is necessary to create more well-rounded students.

40. Conclusion Paragraph Step 11: Conclusion – Choose 1 strategy to wrap up your essay. Make sure that you use this opportunity to link the end of the essay back to the beginning.

41. A call for action Knowing that our children are society’s greatest investment, shouldn’t we want what’s best for them? Consider your child’s schedule and make sure that he is working hardest for his future.

42. A prediction If parents and schools work together, we can shift the emphasis back to education and create a generation of healthy and informed citizens and that’s a formula for a better America.

43. Drawing a deduction from the facts Clearly participation in sports plays an important role in shaping strong leaders, but strength is useless without intelligence, and we need to create an educational environment that fosters both.

44. A final illustration Find/create another story that illustrates your purpose. (NOTE: IF ALL OF YOUR ANECDOTAL EXAMPLES THROUGHOUT THE ESSAY ARE MADE UP, YOU MAY NEED TO FIND ONE LEGITIMATE EXAMPLE IN AN ARTICLE.)

45. A quotation that especially illustrates the main point I used my best quote in the logical appeal, but if I wanted to use it here, I could restructure that paragraph.

46. A strong contrast The question is not one of jocks versus nerds; we want a society that is built on a value of health and strength and reason and intellect. We want a generation that has it all, and it can be done if we only shift our focus.

47. A question Wouldn’t your children be better off with an education that prepares him for college if his dreams of sports superstardom fall through?

48. A useful analogy or comparison Teaching our students to value sports over education is like building an incredible two-story mansion with an incredibly elaborate second story – balconies, dormers, spires, towers – and a ground floor that is still only four-by-fours and plywood. A flimsy base to a beautiful dream weakens the entire structure; so it is when we teach our students to focus on the incredible before achieving the practical.

49. A solution to a problem or a recommendation No-pass, no-play offers a semi-solution to the problem, but in some situations, teachers are pressured to pass students simply so they can participate in their extra-curricular activities, thus defeating the purpose of the law. In other cases, coaches will implement a mandatory study hall to address issues of high failure rates for athletes. The bottom line is that such a shift in focus must be the result of team work – teachers and coaches and parents all working with students to emphasize the importance of education.

50. A statement of the subject’s overall significance We don’t need a generation of illiterate NBA-hopefuls. We need a generation of NBA-hopefuls who have a chance at a successful life if the dream doesn’t materialize. Teaching American students to value education is our nation’s greatest need right now.

51. A return to the idea or structure of the beginning What if Andy’s story ended differently? What if he had finished his Rhet Comp paper in the mandatory team tutorial right after school? Although the game would still be lost, practice would still be early the next morning, Andy would be prepared for class and his grades would not suffer because he had devoted all his extra time to athletics.

52. A brief remark that sums up the writer’s feelings To protect our students, we owe them the benefit of learning how to think; that’s hard to do when they don’t have time between games and practices to crack a book. Sports may get you through high school, maybe even college, but the ability to think critically and make wise decisions is what improves the quality of life.

53. A speculation about what the thesis implies for the future I believe that devoting more energy to preparing our students for athletic competition gives our students the impression that physical prowess takes precedence over education. We leave these students ill-prepared to face a world where an agile mind is a greater necessity than bulging muscles. If we do not redirect our focus to emphasize the thinking part of high school, then we are setting our students up for a rude awakening.

54. A suggestion for specific actions that the reader should take in light of the formation the writer has provided If you are a student struggling to balance the work load and the practice time, remember that learning how to think about and understand the world around you is the strongest foundation you can build for your life.

55. Conclusion Options – Choose 1 A call for action Prediction Drawing deduction from the facts A question A strong contrast A quotation that illustrates the main point Refutation A final illustration A return to the beginning A statement of the subject’s overall significance A solution or recommendation A useful analogy or comparison A suggestion of specific action the reader should take A speculation about what the thesis implies for the future A brief remark that sums up the writer’s feelings

56. Sample Conclusion Paragraph No-pass, no-play offers a semi-solution to the problem, but in some situations, teachers are pressured to pass students simply so they can participate in their extra-curricular activities, thus defeating the purpose of the law. In other cases, coaches will implement a mandatory study hall to address issues of high failure rates for athletes. The bottom line is that such a shift in focus must be the result of team work – teachers and coaches and parents all working with students to emphasize the importance of education so that Andy will have greater opportunities for success in his life than the sports events of these brief four years.

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