5 may. 2011

Between Hirsch and Graff

I dislike both Hirsch and Graff (not the men, whom I've never met, but their ideas), Graff for his contentlessness, Hirsch for the opposite reason.

Graff advocates for a kind of contentless argumentation, saying that what you are talking about doesn't really matter as long as you can formulate an acadically well-formed essay.

Hirsch has argued that this contentlessness has had ill effects on American education. You can teach critical thinking skill until you're blue in the face but if you don't actually know anything, those won't take you very far.

So I should like Hirsch, but I find those dictionaries of cultural literacy insufferable. It turn out that the content you are supposed to know is completely trivialized.

2 comentarios:

Bronwen dijo...

I agree that having "the moves" of an argument isn't enough, but I think Graff's "They Say, I Say" book is a great pedagogical tool for demystifying some of these moves for students at an early stage thinking about participating in academic discourse for the first time.

Jonathan dijo...

I agree that it is valuable to demystify that, not in the particular emphasis that Graff gives to the relation between the form of an argument and what it's saying. I don't know that book, so i won't dispute its usefulness.