Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I learned today that many students do not know what an editorial is. I gave them an assignment to come into class today with an editorial (An editorial written in a newspaper or on line, an Op-ed piece, a letter to the editor or a columnist who is taking a position) and be ready to discuss it. Specifically what I wanted them to do was talk about ethos (the credibility factor and ethical appeal), pathos (the emotional appeal) and logos (the logical appeal).

Almost all students came in with something from the newspaper, and I was pleased about that. All of them also seemed to take the assignment seriously. We sat around in a circle and started discussing the article and how the appeals worked. Unfortunately, a number of my students came in with an actual article and talked about how it was factual.

I was able to go with this as I had them discuss how credible the source was and what the reporter did to establish, or try to establish, his/her credibility. I also had them discuss how they felt about the issue that was being discussed and used that to talk about the logical and emotional appeal. Hopefully they were able to see how this works and it will help them when they have to deliver their persuasive speeches.

I did not want to embarrass anyone so I did not tell anyone that s/he failed to bring in an editorial. Ultimately, as I stated, I think I was able to make the points I wanted. Still, being that this is the first time I tried this exercise (I stole the idea from a full-timer here), it was a learning experience for me and I know some things I will try to change in the future to hopefully give the students and better understanding of what I want.