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The Essential Enthymeme

Propositions for Educating Students in a Modern World

Edited By Jorge Juan Vega y Vega

The enthymeme in education is essential because it reflects what humans do when they think. It informs not only how we make inferences about the world to discover new knowledge, but also how we express those discoveries to influence the minds of others. Thus, the enthymeme provides an effective pedagogical approach to the analysis and synthesis of ideas in the classroom. In this volume, such an approach is applied to composition instruction, second-language learning, advertising, specialized medical texts, and detective fiction to help prepare students for the challenges of modern life. (Michael D. Hood)

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Chapter 3. The Role of the Enthymeme in the Connection Between Reading and Writing (Michael Dennis Hood)

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Michael Dennis Hood Chapter 3. The Role of the Enthymeme in the Connection Between Reading and Writing Most writing instructors assume there is an important relationship between reading and writing; that learning to write is, in some meaningful way, closely tied to the act of reading. In the previous chapter, I suggested how the enthymeme might be used as a method of reading Nicholas Carr’s es- say, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” Because the enthymeme helped locate the causal connections in Carr’s argument, it provided a logical overview of the essay and thus the basis for responsibly evaluating Carr’s criticism of Google and the Internet. While the enthymeme can be used as a tool for successfully analyzing a particular essay, its value for discourse analysis is the important insight it provides about how reading can be used to teach writing. Observing that writing is not merely a technical skill involving encoding and decoding, Patricia Bizzell writes: “One never simply learns to write. Rather one learns to write in certain social circumstances, for certain purposes, for certain readers, and the ability to do this is directly tied to the knowledge one possesses and shares with others in the writing situation” (1989: 227). Even though one might argue that the classroom in an artificial environment and not the real world, it is possible, nevertheless, to establish a discourse community, to create a “writing situation,” by reading and dis- cussing groups of essays on topics such as media, gender, education, the environment,...

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