Why I’m Not Losing Sleep Over AI

By Jennifer Fletcher The tweets, emails, and articles I’ve read the past few weeks in response to the launch of ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence chatbot that generates readable prose in response to almost any writing prompt, seemingly should have me tossing and turning in my bed. Educators have warned about a tsunami of plagiarism andContinue reading “Why I’m Not Losing Sleep Over AI”

From Rhetorical Triangle to Communication Pyramid

By Jennifer Fletcher For a while now, I’ve found myself struggling to say anything new or insightful about the Aristotelian rhetorical triangle. When I get to the slide with this diagram during a presentation or workshop I’m giving on rhetorical literacy skills, I say something about how all these components–text (logos), audience (pathos), and rhetorContinue reading “From Rhetorical Triangle to Communication Pyramid”

Developing Students’ Genre Awareness

By Jennifer Fletcher The first time I used an emoticon in a work email it just felt wrong. Years of being told to follow the “rules” of business communications—no exclamation points, nothing cutesy or personal—made that little smiley face seem like an act of rebellion. But I was far from being a rebel. The slang,Continue reading “Developing Students’ Genre Awareness”

Making the Most of the Opportune Moment

By Jennifer Fletcher In the novel The Hundred Secret Senses (1996), Amy Tan describes the sense of truth as a tingling along the back of the neck. I think of kairos the same way—a felt sense of truth to the moment. It’s that heightened awareness that helps us say the things that need to beContinue reading “Making the Most of the Opportune Moment”

Paraphrase and Summary: Getting the “They Say” Right

By Jennifer Fletcher In other posts (see here and here), I’ve written about the value of dialogic argumentation as a mainstay of intellectual work. This is the “they say, I say” approach to source-based writing described by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein in their popular little book by the same name. Understanding and responding toContinue reading “Paraphrase and Summary: Getting the “They Say” Right”

Making Someone Wrong

By Jennifer Fletcher Pick a side and prove the other side wrong. In a nutshell, this is what many argument prompts tell students to do. But “making someone wrong”—that is, accusing, shaming, or blaming someone else instead of seeking a win-win solution—rarely serves our best interests in personal relationships or in academic and professional settings. Continue reading “Making Someone Wrong”

Writing in the Presence of Others

By Jennifer Fletcher As a graduate student, I remember one of my advisors telling me that we’re all just adding our bricks to the wall. At the time, I couldn’t help hearing echoes of Pink Floyd, and I perhaps didn’t fully appreciate my advisor’s point about the collaborative nature of intellectual labor. After a coupleContinue reading “Writing in the Presence of Others”

Understanding “Theme” as Paraphrase

By Jennifer Fletcher Getting the “They Say” right of an academic conversation (see Graff and Birkenstein’s perennially popular book “They Say, I Say“) starts with a willingness to understand a text on its own terms. This involves listening for the questions a text asks and answers and not just mapping a familiar idea or “universal”Continue reading “Understanding “Theme” as Paraphrase”

How Ethos Impacts Pathos: A Tale of Two Writers

By Jennifer Fletcher It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…or, at least, so we would have to believe to accept the arguments of both Martin E. P. Seligman and Barbara Ehrenreich on the topic of American life in the early 21st century. Seligman is the author of such books asContinue reading “How Ethos Impacts Pathos: A Tale of Two Writers”

Writing Thesis Statements as Enthymemes

By Jennifer Fletcher In my new book Writing Rhetorically, I share one of my favorite quotations from rhetoricians Edward P.J. Corbett and Rosa A. Eberly: “Reasoning, by itself, will not get the potatoes peeled” (1). It takes humans in communication with other humans to accomplish real work in the world. When we reason rhetorically, weContinue reading “Writing Thesis Statements as Enthymemes”