Thursday, July 12, 2012

Transforming Soda into Pop into Persuasion

The intrigue of a good debate...appetizing as the creak, crack, and sizzle of a freshly opened can of pop (soda, coke, soda pop).

The debate of the soda ban seems to point to a different and equally exigent question of the relationship between education, regulation, and consumer choice (also indicative of the larger theme of choice, in general, and perhaps even the exercise free will).

But instead of focusing so much on the deeper meaning and implication of these themes, it may be prudent to view the debate of the soda ban as an opportunity to explore the concepts of rhetoric and persuasion as they relate to composition in the English/Language Arts classroom.

In other words, this debate has didactic value for students intending to study the art of persuasive writing.

This is what the Renaissance Humanist educators and students may have strived for--a distancing from the emotional investment (and personal support) of either side, and the embrace of the in utramque partem--the many-eyed perspective of the arguments involved in the debate.

(What would supporters of the ban argue? Of what would the argument against the ban consist? Who is negatively affected? Who would benefit? What are the possible implications? What are the most extreme implications? Is there a possible world in which these extremes might exist or occur?)

Can you argue from any or all sides?

How would you effectively communicate with, and listen to and understand, those whose perspectives directly oppose yours?

A good exercise and practice, nonetheless.

And delicious with a hot cup of coffee (java, joe, caffeine, addictive substance, lifeblood).

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