Proposal Title

Team Enthymeme: Piloting Enthymematic Thesis Construction in First-Year Writing

Track

Research Proposal / Assessment of Student Learning

Proposal Abstract

Can writing instruction that emphasizes the enthymeme as the model for thesis statement construction improve learning outcomes and transferability of skills in first-year courses? The Team Enthymeme pilot program at Savannah State University answers this question by developing an approach to thinking and writing that connects three courses in the general education core: Freshman Year Composition, Critical Thinking and Communication, and First Year Experience. In our second year of implementation, the project shows improvement in student performance on argumentative writing assignments by deploying an interdisciplinary pedagogical approach for freshman students at an open access institution.

Proposal Description

Research Question: Can writing instruction that emphasizes the enthymeme as the model for thesis statement construction improve learning outcomes and transferability of skills in first-year courses?

Project Description: Team Enthymeme is a pilot program organized through Savannah State University’s “The Write Attitude” Quality Enhancement Plan. Its goal is to explore the efficacy of writing-as-thinking pedagogy by integrating the use of the enthymeme and deductive reasoning in the teaching of writing and critical thinking in courses taken by first-year students. The approach emphasizes the writing process and allows students taking general education core courses to deepen their writing proficiency by reinforcing transferability of skills.

Methodology: Faculty participants utilize pre- and post-testing, control and experimental groups of learners, and reflective exit surveys that capture students’ perceptions of skill and knowledge regarding the enthymeme across courses. Students complete an essay and are evaluated on their writing, then are given instruction on the enthymeme and are required to revise their initial essay to include an enthymematic thesis statement. Grade differences between the first and second versions of the paper are analyzed. On a second essay, students are required to include an enthymeme. On the third essay, students are allowed to choose whether to use the enthymeme or not.

Implications: We are seeing improvement with argumentative writing after two semesters. Teaching students to formulate their thesis statements as an enthymeme enables them to not only state claims and evidence, but to further understand the logic that connects them, and unpacking that logic not only cements for them the idea that writing is thinking but also provides content to develop an organizational framework for their essays.

Audience Engagement: Participants will formulate thesis statements in the form of an enthymeme to demonstrate the benefit of the form for critical thinking and for examining underlying assumptions in reasoning.

Session Format

Presentation Session

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Mar 31st, 11:00 AM Mar 31st, 11:45 AM

Team Enthymeme: Piloting Enthymematic Thesis Construction in First-Year Writing

Can writing instruction that emphasizes the enthymeme as the model for thesis statement construction improve learning outcomes and transferability of skills in first-year courses? The Team Enthymeme pilot program at Savannah State University answers this question by developing an approach to thinking and writing that connects three courses in the general education core: Freshman Year Composition, Critical Thinking and Communication, and First Year Experience. In our second year of implementation, the project shows improvement in student performance on argumentative writing assignments by deploying an interdisciplinary pedagogical approach for freshman students at an open access institution.