Discussion 2

Your task for Discussion 2 is to do two things. The first thing you need to do is write a SEE-I for Chapter 16 and post it to this discussion board. The second thing you need to do is provide responses to four of your classmates’ SEE-I posts.

Writing a SEE-I

A SEE-I writing assignment is a specific structure for a short writing assignment. It entails you trying to follow the assignment requirements to the best of your ability and focusing on one specific concept from the reading. The reason why a SEE-I is called a “SEE-I” is because each letter in the acronym represents a separate paragraph that you need to write to complete it:

  • S – Statement: 1 sentence
  • E – Elaboration: – 5-7 sentences
  • E – Example: 5-7 sentences
  • I – Illustration: 1-2 sentences

Each of these four sections needs to be a separate paragraph.

The video above provides good help with orienting you to what I’m looking for in a typical SEE-I. The “statement” is the claim that you are making, and the “illustration,” “example,” and “illustration” paragraphs are providing proof of the “statement.” A key lesson should be emphasized. First, your “elaboration” section “explains.” Your “example” section “describes.” There is an important difference between explaining and describing, so try to keep those two modes of expression separated into the “elaboration” and “example” sections.

Struggles with the Example Section

In the above video, I have given you some additional explanation of what I am looking for in a SEE-I. Two things that students regularly struggle with are, surprisingly, the example and the illustration.

The reasons why students struggle with the example section is that they typically do not understand two things that I am assessing in the described example. One thing that I am looking for in the example section is for the example to be singular. I only want one example. Do not spread out your 5-7 sentences describing multiple examples. Do not describe a type of example. The other thing that I am looking for in the example section is for the example to be concrete. I do not want you to explain the example in an abstract way or discuss the example as if it has not happened. Concrete examples feature details that have specifics associated with them. There is a story associated with concrete stories.

Consider two cases of a possible paragraph for an example section of a SEE-I:

  1. For example, one of my students copied a SEE-I from his neighbor during the second meeting of this class several years ago. I discovered the copying when I was grading the SEE-I’s. When I was grading the SEE-I’s, I noticed that two of the submissions had the same elaboration and the same example. One was typed, and the other was hastily handwritten. I recalled that the student who turned in the handwritten paper left early, and then dropped the class.
  2. For example, I have encountered students cheating in my class. What often happens is the student is unprepared and accustomed to getting away with copying work from other people. However, when evaluating work, most of the time it is obvious when a student copies work. Typically, the material has the same wording, or the examples are the same. It usually does not end well for the student.

I have encountered this problem many times. Example 2 is not singular because it describes many cases of academic dishonesty that I have encountered as a teacher. Example 1 is singular because it describes only one example and does not discuss other cases of cheating in the paragraph. Example 2 is not concrete because there are no specific details from any of the cheating situations. While there are some generalizations, we do not know why cheaters are unprepared or why they are accustomed to getting away with it. Instead, the second example is preoccupied with describing a whole category of examples, and the specific details that are found in Example 1 are lost in the trends that the author discovered. Example 1 is concrete because it provides specific sensory details that make the example unique. The author provides a description of the differing appearance of the two SEE-I submissions that contain the identical work. One was typed, whereas the other was handwritten. The author also describes what happened when the cheating student turned in the submission. All of these details are real and were observed. This makes the example much more believable than the generalized way that Example 2 attempts to describe cheating.

Struggles with the Illustration Section

While the elaboration and example sections ask for 5-7 sentences, the illustration section asks only for 1-2 sentences. This may lead students to conclude that the Illustration paragraph is easier to produce. Just because you are not asked to write as much for the Illustration paragraph does not by itself make the Illustration much easier. A common mistake that students often make is failing to produce an analogy when they write their Illustration. An analogy compares one thing to another thing. The illustration asks you to make an analogy using a concept from the Statement paragraph. Therefore, to do the illustration, you need to compare the concept from your Statement section to something else. Making this comparison usually requires only one sentence. Sometimes, students may need to write an additional sentence to show what the connection is in the analogy that they have made. A good illustration for the concept of the SEE-I is four stepping stones. One must step first from the Statement to the Elaboration, then from the Elaboration to the Example, then from the Example to the Illustration.

Providing Feedback to SEE-I Submissions

The feedback that you are being asked to provide after you submit your own SEE-I involves three things.

First, I want you to provide a reduced version of the person’s SEE-I submission.

A reduced version of the person’s SEE-I consists of reducing the length of writing considerably to a small version that still contains the essence of what the author is communicating.

This means using only one sentence to capture the meaning of the 5-7 sentences that are found in the elaboration section, and one sentence to capture the meaning of the 5-7 sentences that are found in the example section. For instance, a reduced version of the example above from the SEE-I cheating would be: “Several years ago, there was a case of a student hand-copying a SEE-I word-for-word from someone else in the class, turning it in, and then dropping the class.”

This also means boiling down the analogy found in the illustration section. The most efficient way to reduce the illustration section is to use analogy notation. This involves the use of words separated by a colon. For instance, analogy notation used to reduce my previous example of comparing a SEE-I to stepping stones would be the following: SEE-I : stepping stones

Second, I want you to identify something that is good about the submission.

This could be anything specific about the submission that you find worthy of praise, especially if you found that they did something well that you struggle with yourself.

Third, I want you to identify a change that could be made to the submission that would constructively improve it.

This is perhaps the most important thing about the feedback. If there are some things that you think could be improved, identify the most important of these. What makes the difference between good and bad constructive criticism is whether the criticism describes what, specifically, the author should do to make it better. It does no good to say that something is bad without identifying one or more steps that would correct it.

The above video is an introduction to using a model of critical thinking that I will be encouraging you to use in this class. It suggests a two-part process for critical thinking that makes the activity of critical thinking very explicit. As you can see in the video, there are two parts to the model. One part is the analysis of thinking, and another part is the evaluation of those elements of thought using standards. If you are struggling with providing specific constructive criticism, then using the Paul-Elder Model of critical thinking will be helpful in getting your feedback to be more specific and constructive.

Your first SEE-I begins with the following Statement: “The most important concept in Chapter 16 is…”

Link to the Textbook Chapter 16

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