In all classes I use the 1, 2, 3, step approach:

This approach consists of steps that correspond to the organization of the course [CORE].

Step Organizational framework in any lecture, essay, or case. relation to CORE
  • 1.
this is what I said. Clarify
  • 2.
this is why it is important.





  • 3.
this is what I said because of its importance remember the lesson.



Title: How to understand Class: group

Our lectures & discussions are related to the texts, the web site, and the way you are accountable for explaining to the rest of us the meaning of assigned readings and the notes you have taken from the readings and in class discussions.

What is said?
How it means more than one thing.
Why it is compelling or persuasive when interpreting the facts.


Part of the clarification process, a messy stage of thinking, posing questions, and generating ideas that give some foundation to our focus. On deep background or important underlying information, I often introduce the framework of what I am going to discuss.

This foreshadowing technique you should memorize –or at least never forget– so you can mimic what I and the authors in the books do so you can apply their ideas and and use the deep background information in your essays.

book notesI am referring to basic knowledge that informs because it details, defines, explains, uses examples from the texts and compares data from different authors and the authorities quoted by your authors.

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Part of the clarification process that if done carefully, precisely and clearly can lead to the organization of information based on either defining terms, or defining when and in what sequence events occurred, and demonstrating logical connections.

Above is a dialectical approach to showing by a logical arrangement the electromagnetic spectrum and opposite charges in graphical form.

What is a logical connection among details, or between concepts or how is a preponderance of the data (examples) sufficient to clarify a point you are making?

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Start with My Web Site move to the Index of the texts, then on to any glossary in the books and only use the Oxford English Dictionary for a serious definition:

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Start by going to My Web Site's home page move to the Indexes, use all of the texts' dates, then on to the Oxford English Dictionary for recording the dates of the changes over time in the meaning of the key terms you are investigating. There is a longer time line on the site.

before 600 AD is Ancient history in China, Europe and India.

from 601 - 1453 is Medieval history Europe and the Middle East.

From 1300 - 1517 is Renaissance history in Europe.

From 1517 - 1689 is the Reformation in Europe

from 1680 - 1789 is the Enlightenment in western Europe

from 1789 - 1880 is a revolutionary nationalistic period in Europe & the Americas

from 1880 - 1945 is an imperialist period as the Europe & the US compete

from 1945 - now is the post-colonial, postwar or current era in world history

Chronological order is essential to developing any thoughts on paper.

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Start with My Web Site move to the index of each of the texts, then on to the chapters in every book we read that relate to the concepts I define on the web site and that interest you on the same subject.

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Begin with the Index of the texts, then on to the table of contents to all of the chapters in every book we read. You ought to keep accurate notes on the events, people, places, concepts and defined terms that relate to the arguments that the authors present and the concepts my web-site, your books and the class discussions bring to the forefront of our conversation.

Bloom's taxonomy of crucial learning skills: remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, & create.

Blloms taxonomy

Criteria for judging the relative importance of the data:

The extent of importance in the Index of every book we read related to the concepts Which of the texts, pages, and where in the chapters is this developed? The class time used in writing or discussion which elaborated on the content and meaning of the idea.
+ +, + +, +, +, !
important really essential unforgettably significant

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In writing my essays, I suggest you develop the focus of the lesson as a model for you to see how key concepts can support related theories or arguments. In all of the texts, every chapter is a model essay, or can be used as a model of how to construct your arguments and evidence for an essay.

Essays, by their very character, examine in some detail the relative importance of the ideas you have read about and discussed in class. The bring together the data and the defining qualities of the readings into a clear, compelling and concise focus.

Some authors are better than others in organizing their chapters. Find a chapter or a piece on my web site that strikes you as similar in style to the manner or way you might want to start your essay. Write down what appeals to you about the essay. For the most part all essays begin with a thesis embodying the scope of analysis and depth of your evidence to sustain one or more arguments based on the examples of evidence from the readings.

When Writing do this:

All writing begins with free writing.

Notes, drafts, and evidence from brainstorming or invention sessions are required and graded on a pass/fail or point basis. They do affect your final grade.

I keep track of everything you write that is handed in, by noting the references, authors used, frequency of factual information used, and logical arguments developed with evidence. I make comments on your initial draft and you revise that essay for a grade based on changing what I have suggested to you in my comments.

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In the texts, every chapter as a model essay presents you with one or more arguments about significant ideas, explanations for events, scientific processes, descriptions of human behavior or interpretations used by the author, who knows more than we do about the subject. Your arguments to support a thesis require evidence from the texts.

So outline the argument, identify the premise and the subordinate points, then see how they relate to a conclusion. In many arguments, I am asking you to discern the real from the imagined.

Can you explain that to me? Come to my office and suggest verbally, based on your notes, how you would explain one of the arguments in any text that relates to your understanding of the discussion and lecture.

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Every essay conveys -- by its character-- more than one idea.

So you must think about restating every critically significant idea and related points that support an argument that you will use.

Each week summarize the important facts, data, details and arguments you think we have focused on.

Conclusions are tentative, based on recent evidence for older ideas you have learned, they must be revised to reflect how the old ideas have either been affirmed, negated, altered, reinforced or modified to a definable, discernible or recognizable extent.

Any conclusion answers the question, "So what have I learned from this exercise?"

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clarify Reflect examine


Discussions can be messy and hard to follow unless you:

clarify what you mean,

organize the responses into a range of arguments as opposed to comments,

reflect on what you are hearing based on evidence and examples. Then you may

examine the arguments in order to reach a tentative conclusion.

These steps require practice but in time --if you take into consideration, all of the relevant facts, salient evidence and counter-arguments-- will make your understanding of the class as it relates to critical reading, free writing, note keeping, drafting essays, and writing papers a more sequential and organized experience.

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Last Updated on 08/02/2006.

By Joseph Siry

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