My students recently embarked on a formal argument unit (required by my institution) but as a National Writing Project teacher I teach my students to view argument as a conversation. My challenge to my students when selecting their topic for this unit is to consider an issue that is important to them, urgent in their community, and offers room for conversation. The idea is to explore and consider possible solutions rather than attempting to score points in a debate. This to me is the most important and often ignored role of rhetoric in our society.
I chose The Guest House by Rumi as the poem I wanted to use to guide our thinking because the poem embraces the complexity of being human as well as how we should approach those whose thoughts and ideals do not always align with our own.
What conversations do you wish you could have with your neighbors? What issues do you wish we could explore with an eye toward solutions?