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Joshua Butcher

Declamation Assignments

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Who around here does Declamations in their Rhetoric classes? What do they look like?

I just finished using a hypothetical Conjecture case with my 11th graders using Hermogenes's On Issues. The students wrote their own issue briefs (in essay form) on each side of the case, and then I broke them into teams for a modified cross-examination debate. They did a pretty good job of following the structures and finding basic claims for each issue, and they did surprisingly well on cross-examination (usually the skill I find students struggling with the most), but they did not do as well in keeping track of opposing claims to address them, and they showed relatively limited imagination in thinking through the possibilities afforded to them by the relatively open-ended fact sheet.

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