ENGL 250 Teaching Tip: Rhetorical Analysis

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Ryan Everett, RPC Ph.D. student, pushes his students to consider the rhetorical situation with every module in ENGL 250, but for many students, it is the Rhetorical Analysis module where it really clicks. Regardless of the selected medium for this assignment, instructors can encourage students to think about the elements of the rhetorical situation, not only for this module but for their daily lives. Developing insight into why a text exists, what it aims to do and how it will help students understand that writing is highly situated and responsive will help them produce more meaningful texts and become better communicators overall.

ENGL 250 instructors can help their students get practice thinking about and discussing the elements of the rhetorical situation three times over the course of the RA module in the way that Ryan suggests:

  1. With a fun introductory example: Once at the beginning of the unit with something fun; choose a student (or TA) centered piece of communication (this could be anything from lit, art, and music to marketing campaigns and commercials)
  2. With the piece being analyzed for this major assignment: Second, apply the elements to the piece of communication that students are analyzing for their RA-module paper
  3. With the actual papers that students write: Ask students to complete a third application of the rhetorical situation for themselves as the writer of a Rhetorical Analysis (Purpose, for this exercise, would be connected to learning something about communication).

They can do these exercises shorthand with either the 3-part Venn diagram or a text breakdown like this:



Intended Audience:




Context (to whom, where, when, and why this applies):