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Credit- Degree applicable
Effective Quarter: Fall 2010

I. Catalog Information

Critical Reading, Writing and Thinking
5 Unit(s)


(See general education pages for the requirement this course meets.)

Requisites: Prerequisite: English Writing 1A.

Hours: Five hours lecture (60 hours total per quarter).

Description: Develops critical thinking skills and the ability to apply these skills to reading and writing. Develop analytical and argumentative academic essays based on reading of complex texts, and the use of outside research leading to analysis, comparison, and synthesis and a documented research paper.

Student Learning Outcome Statements (SLO)


• Student Learning Outcome: Apply critical thinking skills to writing and complex readings.


• Student Learning Outcome: Demonstrate academic (analytical, argumentative) writing based on reading of complex texts.


• Student Learning Outcome: Demonstrate analysis, comparison, synthesis, and documentation of independent research.

II. Course Objectives

A.Students will develop critical and analytical skills in the reading and analysis of a variety of texts, including visual images and other nonverbal texts.
B.Develop a sequence of argumentative essays with integrated reading that demonstrates the interdependence of reading, writing, language and thinking.

III. Essential Student Materials


IV. Essential College Facilities


V. Expanded Description: Content and Form

A.Students will develop critical and analytical skills in the reading and analysis of a variety of texts, including visual images and other nonverbal texts.
1.Determine direct perception and inference, surface reading and interpretation by considering:
a.Perception as an active process (selection, completion, organization)
b.Images and icons
c.Gestures and actions
d.Cultural codes
2.Analyze and evaluate language and thinking
a.Syntax and semantics, structure and meaning; denotation and connotation; speech acts
b.Naming and description; concrete vs. abstract; vagueness, ambiguity, cliches
c.Social context and codes; slang, jargon, dialect; oral vs. written
e.Metaphor and symbol
3.Distinguish and analyze organizational patterns.
a.Chronological and process relationships
b.Comparative and analogical relationships
c.Causal relationships (scientific method, reciprocal causes/effects)
d.Concepts, categories, stereotypes
4.Evaluate argumentation and its logical elements
a.Propositions (claims), support (evidence, expert opinions, motivational appeals), and assumptions
b.Distinction between fact and opinion, primary and secondary sources, perception and inference, knowledge and belief
c.Distinction between deductive and inductive reasoning
d.Examination of logical fallacies (e.g., faulty generalization, non sequitur, slippery slope, false dilemma, false analogy, post hoc, ergo propter hoc, begging the question, circular reasoning, red herring, straw man, ad hominem, faulty appeal to authority, common practice or bandwagon)
e.Evaluation and judgment
f.Persuasion (point of view, tone, emotional appeals)
g.Rebuttal and counterargument
5.Develop and apply interdisciplinary thinking
a.Translate jargon
b.Make connections between disciplines
c.Examine and utilize alternative models and paradigms
6.Distinguish, compare and evaluate the multiplicity and ambiguity of perspectives, including alternative points of view from a variety of outside source, such as library-, internet-, and (optionally) field-based research
a.Identify, compare and evaluate alternative points of view (ideological, methodological), cultural values (culture, ethnicity, gender, social class), and textual meanings (ambiguity)
b.Determine one's own point of view and evaluate that perspective in relation to other viewpoints
B.Develop a sequence of argumentative essays with integrated reading that demonstrates the interdependence of reading, writing, language and thinking.
1.Identify the interdependence of reading and writing
2.Synthesize the writing process in essay development
3.Analyze and interpret
a.Applying critical reading skills
b.Analyzing one's own experience
c.Organizing and expressing the results of analysis
a.Propositions (claims)
b.Support (evidence, expert opinions)
c.Assumptions (making hidden assumptions explicit)
d.Persuasion (motivational appeals, tone)
5.Integration of multiple sources and points of view (from library-, internet-, and field-based research) in documented, analytical research paper
a.Analysis of sources (understanding other points of view)
b.Self-reflection (analyzing one's own experience and one's own point of view)
c.Formulation and articulation of new ideas and perspectives

VI. Assignments

1.Challenging, college-level works (as measured by vocabulary, complexity of ideas, and stylistic sophistication) that reflect and examine cultural, ethnic, gender/sexual, socioeconomic, and other forms of diversity
2.Emphasis on analytical and argumentative works
3.Optional use of text on logic and argument
B.Writing (including at least 6000 words of formally evaluated writing)
1.Informal writing such as journal entries, responses to reading, and writing exercises
2.In-class essays, exams, and/or quizzes, measuring comprehension and logical analysis
3.Progressive sequence of at least four analytical/argumentative essays, totaling at least 4000 words, including major research paper of at least 1500 words;
4.Final exam or project (may be research paper listed above)

VII. Methods of Instruction

 Discussion of assigned reading
Collaborative learning and small group exercises
Lecture and visual aids

VIII. Methods of Evaluating Objectives

A.Journals and quizzes - Students may be required to keep periodic journals and submit for evaluation. Quizzes may be short answer, multiple choice, fill in the blank and/or short analytical paragraphs which evaluate the Critical Thinking or lessons learned contained within readings. You may also consider having students write, for instance, logic quizzes in a group and posting them. You may also consider having students write, for instance, logic quizzes in a group and posting them.
B.Class participation, including contributions to class discussions and small-group work. Students may be required to make in-class presentations either individually or in groups. You may also require students to think-pair-share to start class discussions focused on what the students want to know.
C.Individual conferences scheduled during office hours, or meetings with groups of students working on similar issues.
D.Essay-based exams either in-class or out of class where students write essay length responses allowing students to use MLA style sheet or similar for documentation if done in class.
E.Analytical essays, including major research paper. Most English Writing 2 classes will include one topical research paper. Instructor may wish to specify variety of types of sources to be evaluated and used to support critical thinking objectives.
F.Final exam or project which could be an essay or a last presentation done in class.

IX. Texts and Supporting References

A.Examples of Primary Texts and References
1.Barnet, Sylvan and Hugo Bedau. "Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing: A Brief Guide to Argument", 5th edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2004.
2.Barnet, Sylvan and Hugo Bedau. Enduring Questions and Critical Issues: A Guide to Critical Thinking with Readings, 8th edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008.
B.Examples of Supporting Texts and References
1.Atwood, Margaret. "The Handmaid's Tale". New York: Fawcett Crest, 1987.
2.Barnet, Sylvan and Hugo Bedau. "From Critical Thinking to Argument: A Portable Guide" Second Edition. Boston: Bedford/St Martins, 2008.
3.Bartholomae, David and Anthony Petrosky. "Ways of Reading". 7th th edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005.
4.Bartholomae, David and Anthony Petrosky. "Ways of Reading Words and Images". Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2003.
5.Burgess, Anthony. "A Clockwork Orange". New York: Norton, 1987.
6.Glassner, Barry. "The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things". New York: Basic Books, 2000.
7.Lee, Spike. "Do the Right Thing", (Film) 1989.
8.Maasik, Sonia, and Jack Solomon. "Signs of Life in the USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers". 4th Edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2002.
9.Machiavelli, Niccolo. "The Prince". New York: Dover, 1992.
10.Malcolm X. Malcolm X Speaks. "Edited by George Breitman". New York: Path Press, 1976.
11.Moore, Michael. "Bowling for Columbine", 2002.
12.Morris, Errol. "The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara", Film 2003.
13.Orwell, George. "Animal Farm". New York: Signet, 2004 (1954).
14.Rottenberg, Annette T. "Elements of Argument", 6th edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's Press, 2002.
15.Ruszkiewicz, John et al. "Everything's An Argument", 3rd edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2003.
16.Schlosser, Eric. "Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal". New York: Perennial, 2002.
17.Tannen, Deborah. "The Argument Culture: Moving from Debate to Dialogue". New York: Ballantine, 1999.
18.Hacker, Diane. "Research and Documentation in the Electronic Age", 3rd Edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2002. <>