Friday, October 16, 2009

The Argument is the Thing

Please read the following editorial and comment on its application to you and your writing.

September 6, 2009
An Argument Worth Having By GERALD GRAFF

Freshmen are often overwhelmed by the intellectual challenge of college — so many subjects to be covered, so many facts, methods and philosophical isms to sort out, so many big words to assimilate. As if that weren’t enough, what your different instructors tell you may be flatly contradictory.

Students understandably cope with this cognitive dissonance by giving each of their teachers in turn whatever he or she seems to want. Students learn to be free-market capitalists in one course and socialists in the next, universalists in the morning and relativists after lunch. This tactic has got many a student through college, but the trouble is that, even when each course is excellent in itself, jumping through a series of hoops doesn’t add up to a real socialization into the ways of intellectual culture.

What the most successful college students do, in my experience, is cut through the clutter of jargons, methods and ideological differences to locate the common practices of argument and analysis hidden behind it all. Contrary to the cliché that no “one size fits all” educational recipe is possible, successful academics of all fields and intellectual persuasions make some key moves that you can emulate:

1. Recognize that knowing a lot of stuff won’t do you much good unless you can do something with what you know by turning it into an argument.

2. Pay close attention to what others are saying and writing and then summarize their arguments and assumptions in a recognizable way. Work especially on summarizing the views that go most against your own.

3. As you summarize, look not only for the thesis of an argument, but for who or what provoked it — the points of controversy.

4. Use these summaries to motivate what you say and to indicate why it needs saying. Don’t be afraid to give your own opinion, especially if you can back it up with reasons and evidence, but don’t disagree with anything without carefully summarizing it first.

It’s too often a secret that only a minority of high achievers figure out, but the better you get at entering the conversation by summarizing it and putting in your own oar, the more you’ll get out of your college education.

Gerald Graff, the past president of the Modern Language Association and a professor of English and education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has been teaching since 1963.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/06/opinion/06graff.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Gerald%20Graf&st=cse

49 Comments:

Anonymous Brittney L said...

This writing doesn't only work for college, it works for any argument. Being able to properly summarize their opponents argument and then counter with evidence and reason will often leave their opponent sputtering and red. However this skill must be formed and develop or else it'll lead one to get shot down multiple times. This article states that book smarts isn't enough to get by, it's one how apply that knowledge. This especially important in writing since not being able to turn one's knowledge into readable can hold one back.

10/20/2009 02:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Janeth C. said...

Aggreable in all aspects, Mr. Graff points out how most students' nature of adapting to a class's demanding leads them to not getting much out of it. Students guilty of this do it to get the grade not the real essence of the course. He provides key points that can aid us in processing and correctly responding to an argument with our POV. These can only furhter our success in college as well as in a certain english class for the juniors in the TAG Magnet.

10/20/2009 07:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Blessey said...

Graff mentions that freshmen have trouble in applying there knowledge and make it actually worh something. This statement doesn't apply only for college student. As you go up the ladder in education, one begins to realize that doing homework and studying is not enough to make this acuired education mean something. One has to actually be able to apply all that they have learned in school and put it out in the real world.
As far as opinions are concerned, students have the tendency to always want to be right. So most of the times whatever the professor says student seems to agree not giving any thought into what the professor said. Opinions is something that sets people aside for each other. When there is not a difference in opinion it no longer becomes an opinion but a fact, which in some cases could lead to disaster.

10/22/2009 01:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Amanda Arroyo said...

Books smarts and simply knowing things is not enough to get through college. Not only college, but school and life in general. If all a student does is complete the required assignment without truly thinking about what he or she is doing, then get get exactly that out of it. Nothing. It doesn't really do much good if all that knowledge is simply words in your head.

10/22/2009 07:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Trent Smith said...

[INSERT GOOD PERSONAL SUMMARY]

The author says that many students get by in college because they mold to the classes that require a specific field of understanding. The good students, conversley, use the varied lessons from each of the classes to, in some cases, better their overall understanding of the fundamentals of argument.

10/24/2009 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger Jessica C said...

Graff makes it apparent that our freshman year in college can be filled with contradictory ideas that can cause us great stresses. Mainly because we go to school to become astute individuals, but once we are confronted with the studying process we seem to forget how to learn (we work without motive). The best way to take college’s teaching to our advantage is by actually putting the new information we obtain into practice otherwise there wouldn’t be a point of knowing “things” that aren’t used in life.

10/24/2009 02:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Abby Vargas said...

As the Great Correa states, "[we] cannot read without thinking." Same in this case, we cannot work without thinking and if we do, we're not really learning. Argument requires thought and skill; if we don't learn to develop that by practicing thinking about what we say, then we will most likely sound ignorant and never prove our point, correct as it may be. Freshman year in college can make us feel confused and lead us to look at things and assignments superficially, but if we practice thinking about what we're going to say and write (especially this next year), then it should definetly make it easier for us to get our points across in any situation and not feel overwhelmed in college.

10/24/2009 07:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Allika W. said...

As students, we are told by our parent and teachers to be chameleons, to blend in, to cooperate, to give them what they want, to absorb vast amounts of information like a sponge, and strong-willed like an ox. With all of these stressful demands, it’s easy for anybody, not just college freshmen, to become overwhelmed. Ambiguity doesn’t work for arguments; a person cannot be them all a one time, unless there is a way to benefit from multiple personality disorder. A good argument requires a person to stand their ground about a belief without becoming too territorial or skittish.
The random facts being thrown at us will eventually be forgotten if we can’t find a way to connect them. Gerald Graff offers a way to summarize what others are saying and writing and turn them into coherent arguments, making essay writing, one more thing in life, less complicated

10/24/2009 07:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Mimi N. said...

We are human in that we can go through life day by day and adapt ourselves to its many changes. However, what makes us individuals is what we are able to do once we adapt. Some people take each challenge one at a time and simply forget about old tasks once he or she has completed them. However with minds who are able to combine the lessons they learn into wisdom, they are "the most sucessful."

10/25/2009 11:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Lauren O. said...

Being able to manipulate your knowledge of a certain topic or subject and turn it into an argument is adequate enough to a certain degree, but it is when you are able to understand the opinions of your opposing views and defend your ideas or thoughts can you benefit from and get more out of your education.

10/25/2009 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Bedford_la said...

This type of writing and thinking is not just helpful to college students, but to basically and type of student, whether it be secondary or primary school. Some of my teachers have said, “If you have questions, ask them because more times than not when you formulate the question in your head, you can answer your own question.” Contrary to some students belief about the matter I tend to think that this statement is often true. The art of conversation is to know exactly what you are trying to convey, and supporting what you say with relevant facts. Conversation has three relevant parts that are crucial in the conversations development. The first part is to know facts about the argument, the second is conveying your argument, and the third is a rebuttal that can either defend or refute the allegations by the other person.

10/25/2009 02:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Sam Forgerson said...

The ability to carefully analyze all of the sides of an argument rather than just saying what someone wants to hear is a skill that could be used outside of the field of education as well. To be able to understand an argument that opposes a person's own beliefs allows the person to further their knowledge as well as understand other people and their beliefs better.

10/25/2009 02:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Michelle Mancilla said...

It's a sad fact that students would give up their morals or beliefs just for a grade. The desire to conform with the teachers' standings and beliefs, turn students into sellouts.
Conformity becomes a nasty habit and the students come out of college not knowing how to efficiently use the subjects they learned there. Learning how to argue allows the students to show their true positions in controversial issues instead of conforming the opinions of others.

10/25/2009 02:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Lilli B said...

As school became more difficult, (around 6th grade) I realize that I might have begun using this tactic of giving my teachers "whatever he or she seems to want".
I've since learned why this is not conducive to successful education in a subject. But, there is still some element of it in my assignments, because after all, a teacher wants to know that their students understood the material. There is no complete escape from it.
I think that a great majority of the teachers at Rangel (especially in the last 2 years) promoted this faulty type of teaching, causing an impact on the students. All they wanted was for a student to churn out an assignment to receive grades and demonstrate some kind of understanding. But was it really understanding? We weren't asked to THINK for ourselves; there were normally guidelines for projects and when a teacher let us be creative, without strict criteria, we didn't know what to do.
Sometimes opinion is needed to learn. Using the tips that Graff provides, one can develop their own opinion on a subject while acknowledging the pros and cons of an opposing one. In this way, we can make a good argument.
(p.s. I'm glad to be at TAG.)

10/25/2009 03:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Chvojan said...

Graff's argument, though made directly at college freshman, can be applied to students of any age. With the vigor of courses, it is often times easier to spit back facts, memorized with no meaning or context connected, or to provide the teacher with pseudo-intelligence and to say what he wants to hear, than to form an opinion unique to the student. Graff highlights key points that could provide students with the tools necessary to become a more informed, intellectual thinker. Being able to form an opinion and to argue for their opinion will, in essence, help students to eliminate abiguity.

10/25/2009 04:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Esthefania Gil said...

Contradictory opinions are often times difficult to deal with, but they all seem to have a common knowledge behind them. Understanding the essence of such knowledge helps to understand opposing ideas. This is key to not letting ourselves as students settle for what is being given. College students are not the only ones who make use of this technique; high school students have to deal with opinions and ideas that might interfere with one another making this tactic a viable for high school scholars. Making a connection between these opinions and arguments leads us to understanding; and Graff facilitates us with the way that we should see these arguments so that we make the most out of them.

10/25/2009 05:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Lucas said...

I agree with this article. Mr. Graff is right in his assertion. Knowing where things come from and what they really mean helps you understand what its really about. Its kind of like knowing the way something works, like a bike for example. If you have a picture of all the mechanical workings of the bike in your head, if you hear it making a noise, and if you have enough experience, you can usually know what the problem is right away. By knowing how things work mechanically, you can understand their function more intimately. This is similar to what Mr. Graff writes about. He says that we should understand the practices of argument and analysis behind it all so that we can understand what is being said. This way of understanding applies to many other fields as well, such as computer science. If you can know the inner workings of a java class, it is much easier for you to understand it.

10/25/2009 05:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Paula Conway said...

This type of writing is not only for college student's, but college students probably grasp the concept better than we do. We can use this type of arugmentative writing also, it's just that some of us need to work a little harder to get our point across because we aren't as diversed in our writing styles. Graff makes the implication that book smart people can't write these arguments well, but I believe that they probably could write it better than others because they have a higher knowledge of how more professional work is written. They could also use their large vocabularies to their advantage. This also partially confirms Graff's argument because a 2nd grader wouldn't have a very large vocabulary, therefore they couldn't write this type of arguement. Another coframation of Graff's thesis is if all a student does is complete the required assignment without thinking about what he or she is doing, then they get exactly that out of it. They get nothing. Many book smart people do this because they think they already know everything.

10/25/2009 05:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Gena Schildt said...

Though he calls out college freshmen, Graff's advice and observations can be applied to students of many ages. It can be hard for a student to disagree with an authority figure, though he or she may have contrasting ideas. It's important to "summarize", as Graff says, the "argument and assumptions" that others say and take something from them. Professors encouraging papers and assignments that simply agree with them, while possibly giving them a temporary ego boost, diminishes the pupils ability to argue.

10/25/2009 05:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Haley Miller said...

Successfully winning an argument takes skill, but not solely about the subject in question. College students are not the only ones who need to use these tips. Humans in general come into contact with controversy everyday. Everything learned in school can be used in the real world. But, those who are able to look past the argument and apply other knowledge into the situation are those who are victorious. Arguments require the comprehension of the subject, the counterargument, and prior knowledge to be advantageous.

10/25/2009 05:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Kim Sherrill said...

Graff's advice to such a wrongfully specific audience should be addressed to a much larger public. Although i am not a freshman in college, I find this advice to be extremely helpful in the forming of my arguments. Often times my thoughts get jumbled or become unclear, much the same as the thoughts of any student attempting to get their point across. The most important advice that Graff gives would be the necessity of substantial evidence to back up your thesis. Without this, our arguments are pointless.

10/25/2009 06:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Maegan Jernigan said...

Most of us have been through teachers who want things done in completely different ways. I usually do as they ask without thinking just to satisfy the teacher and get the grade. What we all need to do is think about why the teacher wants it done that way and learn to incorporate what we learn into all of our work in some way.
As for Graff's four points, I can know all there is to know about a subject and still miss the entire point of the argument. In summarizing another's opposing points, I will know exactly what I'm arguing against and exactly the points to make in order to win. I can use their points to motivate my writing and in turn, make a much better argument than them. If I don't dig deeper into my opponent's argument, I won't get anywhere in my own.

10/25/2009 06:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Carolyn said...

Understanding your opponents view is essential when creating an argument. You have to listen so you can argue back with relevant facts as well as to know more about their side. Summarizing the work is important in any situation when trying to comprehend the information, not just as a college freshman. When writing an essay, you have to know what is being presented to write a successful piece.

10/25/2009 06:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Asia W. said...

Being able to summarize a person's argument is critical. If one wants to comment on that person's argument, then knowing the gist of it is key. Most of our writing is defending or challenging someone else's argument but how can we if we don't know what they're saying? The key points in anyone's argument are the key points in our defense or challenge.

10/25/2009 06:56:00 PM  
Anonymous blakely said...

These tips are not only applicable to writing, but are essential to every aspect of life. Knowing how to analyze and summarize contradictory ideas and use those ideas to compose an opposing argument will help you excel, whether it is in your education, your career, or even your personal life. While it may be easier to agree with a given statement, using that statement to support an opposing opinion helps people see that there is more than one side to a situation, benefiting everyone.

10/25/2009 07:02:00 PM  
Anonymous sofia weir said...

Gerald Graff asserts that in order to be a success in college, students should discontinue their ways of molding to their teacher's wants, and instead take on the task of cutting to the core of all subject matters and not compromising their opinions. I disagree; although some of his advice is relevant, it seems as if this was written for the sake of sounding honorable in his quest for knowledge.

Although the significance of college is for students to learn that which they will be utilizing throughout their professional careers, all courses taken in college do not include necessary or relevant information, and furthermore (as Graff himself states), the information may even be contradictory! Therefore, I also disagree with Graff's first piece of advice: "...knowing a lot of stuff won't do you much good..." Yes it will. It'll get you through college. It seems as though the tactic he mentions-- being "universalists in the morning and relativists after lunch"-- would be the very best practice of argument.

I also disagree with Kimberly Sherrill (and everyone else who says that this is applicable to students of any age). She stated that this article was wrongfully specific, which implies that the significance of the knowledge we acquire in High School is relevant to us and our futures. In some cases this could be true, but the actual importance of secondary school is for us to learn how to temporarily store information, and pass tests. In essence, we're learning how to learn before we get to the important stuff.

Although I really did agree with the message he was putting across in theory, in practice I'm fairly certain that honestly trying to locate the common ground hidden behind all subjects would be much too heavy for a college student. Although having integrity should be more important, students are really looking for success (not honor). I've got to take the Julius Evola stance on this one; in order to be victorious, students (especially in high school) have got to ride the tiger.

10/25/2009 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger Sofia said...

// (I really didn't mean to write that much yall, sorry)

10/25/2009 07:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Emma said...

Graff's advice is applicable to anyone forming a relevant argument. As a high school student, I read Graff's tips ready to implement them into my essays and arguments. It is important to analyze the points of controversy in an argument because they will provide necessary information in disagreeing or agreeing with it; this will help me in writing thesis statements for my opinions. Backing up my own opinions with "reasons and evidence," I will be able to write persuasively.

10/25/2009 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

Gerald Graff's editorial seems to me as a piece of advice to college students. The fact that his editorial includes that he has been teaching since 1963 shows that he wants his audience to know that his opinion is trustworthy. I think I will probably, from now on, consider if I've summarized the views that go against my views, because this advice has now presented itself to me twice in the past week - in Correa's class and now. You should always pay attention to patterns, so this particular guidance I think must be something I should keep in mind now that I've figured out it's a pattern.

10/25/2009 08:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Cathryn said...

It is the common misconception that depending on what subject you are discussing the way you form an argument changes. Yet as the editorial says the process of forming and argument is actually the same no matter what subject. Mr. Correa continually tells us that “[we] can not read without thinking”, this statement can also be applied to arguing. It is impossible to good argument without listening and thinking, without those two things your argument is just your opinion without any evidence.

10/25/2009 08:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Karen Carrasco said...

Although Graff mentions this advice is for college students, it's also applicable to everyone. This advice is aimed more towards writing, but can also be practiced in our everyday life.

Knowing what your opponent has to offer and knowing their point of view is a key point in creating an argument. The defense is the most important establishment done. How can one defend an argument without knowing the opponents point of view? Without this there is no point in arguing at all.

10/25/2009 08:23:00 PM  
Blogger Jayci said...

Different courses delve into various subjects and minute details, that when applied in life usually surface with no weight or substance. Throughout school, college or not, students continually ask teachers how the subjects they are covering will apply in "real life"; the truth is that they will never truly matter unless the students learn how to connect those ideals. By constructing a broad knowledge of those courses a student will also be able to construct a valid argument.

10/25/2009 08:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Laura Linchsied said...

I agree with Graff that it is a critical skill for a student to be able to manipulate their words, which can only be done believably when they possess a comprehensive understanding of both sides of the point. Graff puts down "knowing a lot of stuff" but I think that knowing facts and having a good knowledge on the topics that a student is trying to analyze is just as important as being able to argue their point.

10/25/2009 08:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Angela L. said...

Graff has a valid point in saying students are too focused on grades to truly grasp their learning. His recipe for education does contrast the cliche "no one size fits all", however his recipe is written simply as a guideline for students, not as a list they must strictly adhere to all the time. One may beg to differ reading his statement "Recognize that knowing alot of stuff won't do you much good..." but as I understand it, he means to say that if one knows alot of stuff, it doesn't mean it has a positive effect in their argument unless they can put a thread into their ideas and piece them together in a clear and understandable manner, not to mention relevant to the argument. I will keep in mind my understanding of his tips when writing for the promise of better and/or well-written argument.

10/25/2009 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

The true concept of what we as students attain through school cannot be explained by various, differentiating, and most likely impartial anecdotes our teachers feed us but by the culmination of ideas including reflection on our on ideals as well as opposing arguments, and summarizing these into a thoughtful argument. I heartily agree with Graff in this theory. In order to use the things we learn in school in the big picture we call life we must accommodate these factoids into well developed arguments that can guide our way through the many encounters of seemingly random facts, words, and subjects we may face.

10/25/2009 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger Adelio said...

Life is a course. Most people can attain knowledge easily but it is up to those people to grasp how they will apply that knowledge in their daily lives. Information taken in by rudimentary thinkers usually leads to not processing raw information. I suppose that this is why students, not just in college, but of all levels of academics tend to validate most of their teachers' beliefs and lessons. Although, possibly students' tendency to give their teachers exactly what they seem to want may be attributed to some other aspect.

Some students know what they believe in and are not conflicted by cognitive dissonance. They choose to caress their instructors ego and validate all their theories in order to make the easy grade. More than often agreeing with someone is an easier route than disagreeing and arguing and potentially failing to prove your ideas.

10/25/2009 09:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anthony R. said...

Graff states that college students are vulnerable to each class they attend to because of the vast amount of information and knowloedge that is required for the student to interpret. College students have to shift their knowledge from a previous class into a completely new mind set in the spick of time because of the diversity between each class. A grade is merely a letter which has become a paramount essential for college students. Students are lacking the motive to put their plethora amount of knowledge into practice and to apply themselves further therefore sooner or later, the knowledge will go to waste.
If the information isnt applied, a invalid argument will be engendered because of the lacking of the amount of evidence that will not suffice the argument. Students that can relate to me often just blindly write what the teacher say and not question therefore having a difficult time understanding the argument portrayed by the teacher because of the fear of being called ignorant. To save the trouble, students just back-off. I will take the advice in order to apply myself in everything I do and in whatever I desire to do.

10/25/2009 09:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Michael Flores said...

The ability to succinctly analyze information and organize a well though out argument will beat out anybody who memorizes and reiterates the teacher’s point of view. Somebody who stands up for what they believe will be noticed and respected by most teachers. The only negative things that could come from this mind set is when you argue with your parents and you get grounded or your teacher thinks you have become haughty and fails you.

10/25/2009 09:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Katelyn Absalom said...

It is easy to become accustomed to just simply doing what each teacher asks and not really take the time to understand and absorb in what is being learned. The only thing that matters is finishing the assignment and getting the grade.

Understanding the aspects of what is being learned and applying them can help in forming an argument in writing. Without an understanding of a subject, it is not possible to form a clear argument about it.

10/25/2009 09:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Caribou said...

As human beings it is our wish to be successful in what we do, in how we are seen, in how we go about things. For instance, you could say to me "Well that's not what an emo kid does?" I would then say au contrair an emo kid wishes to be depressing and exasperatingly boring and as you well know... they are just that. See? Even the emo's strive for success in their "fortay."
Anyways back to college... basically what I'm stating is this... we all strive for success..but the MOST successful are the ones noted for being out there, strange, personable, the ones who think outside the general box and can argue their way in, out, and all around it. These are the children the professors note, these are the ones who will go far, and these are the ones that we all should strive to be.
In the end book smarts can't get u that far its all about being able to communicate your book smarts...that's when the cash starts rolling in... and then... your in business.
It all comes down to what you can do to assist yourself within the realm of arguin and CONVEYING (key word) your thoughts and opinions... if you are able to do that then it'll make life, college, etc. a lot easier.

10/25/2009 10:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Lamar said...

Memorizing information and storing facts isn't enough. You need to be able to apply what you learn and use it to form,
support, and defend your arguments. It is essential to take the point of view from both sides, and be able to understand the issue from all perspectives, otherwise you will appear ignorant, and your argument pointless. Also, if you have evidence to back up your opinions, you shouldn't be afraid to call someone out if you disagree with what they say or do. You will make an excellent impression upon your teachers and fellow classmates. Graff provides necessary advice for all students, at any age.

Righteous.

10/25/2009 11:06:00 PM  
Blogger MRay said...

okay.. here is attempt number two at replying -.-

Summarizing increases ones general capacity to fully understand the argument. By summarizing the information one can put the information in almost their own language that is unique to only that person.Through this personal language one is able to process and fully understand the argument with clarity and efficiency. However, contrary to point number four, it is a crucial part of understanding to be almost forced to respond and defend ones points. This not only proves to others, but to oneself that you understand the material. Often one doesn't even realize to what extent they themselves understand until they defend the argument, experiencing it on a personal level.

10/25/2009 11:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Taliah R. said...

Take all of the knowledge that you get from school and use it to form your own opinion/argument and use that knowledge through life. You need to be able to take what you learn and make it useful to yourself and your life.

10/26/2009 06:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Maryssa said...

When arguing a point it is imperative to understand concepts rather than memorize facts. In so doing, students put themselves at an advantage over those who do not fully understand what they are learning.

Maryssa

10/26/2009 06:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Mercedes said...

We may do so many things for a grade, but in the end what good is a grade if you cannot properly function in society? Graff has a good point, you cannot support or go against something you do not fully understand. In order for me to write an effective paper I must fully understand think both sides of the issue and then make my assertion based on that. I cannot just write what I expect will please my reader. For me to be able to funtion well in society, I must be aware of other ideas, and I must not refrain from stating my opinion, when it is fully informed. For one too succeed he must not base his grade solely on his grade, but on his understanding.

10/26/2009 04:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Breanna D said...

In college many subjects are extremely difficult unless you can use the knowledge learned in high school to successfully create arguments to support what was learned. Knowing everything is not the key to pass college exams but knowing how to apply what was learned to arrive at the correct answer. If information is not fully understood, a person can't create an argument for or against it. Before going to college, it is necessary for students to learn how to analyze and create accurate arguments to truly achieve in society.

10/27/2009 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger Courtney J. said...

Graff is saying that you can not make the most out of college if you dont know how to use your knowledge. This is true in many aspects of life. I have learned this from Ms. Stimpson who said you should be able to interact with others no matter what environment. This means whether you're with your friends, collegues, or executives, you should be able to communicate thoroughly, use your knowledge to the best of your abilities.

10/27/2009 05:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Sameena T. said...

Graff makes a lot of sense. So many people study and study for hours and hours yet they don't have the ability to communicate in their own words relevant to whatever argument is presented. If a person isn't able to take what they've learned or heard or read and intrepret it, have an opinion on it and be able to present it to others then the information they've received is practically useless. Sharing your opinion on things shows not only how u think but also a different perspective that might have not been thought of before. If everybody thought the same way then the world would be boring which is why it's important to be knowledgable and voice your opinion.

10/27/2009 06:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Gerardo Padierna said...

Gerald Graff makes the strong assertion that a college education is no good if the capacity to properly internalize,defend,qualify, or contradict an idea an is not present. Ones' mental capacities to hold trivia are not really needed in order to be successful(unless you want to be on Who Wants to be a Millionaire). This editorial further asserts the notion of "proper arguments" in my way of thinking and writing.

10/27/2009 08:53:00 PM  

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