Critical Reasoning


Now that you have received comments on your ‘reconstruction+assessment’ exercise, it’s time to revise. To do so, you will need to read the TA’s comments on your Ex2 submission, and plan how to change your ‘reconstruction’ and ‘assessment’ accordingly. Here’s a link to the slides about revisions: 05 Revising.pdf

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After you revise the ‘reconstruction’ and the ‘assessment’ parts, you now need to write a new part: ‘response’.

In your response, you need to explain what you think about the topic that the op-ed author discusses. What do you think about their main thesis? Do you agree with them? Do you disagree? Why? What other thesis might you suggest instead? On what grounds? You need to argue in support of your position.
Your response can be critical and articulate an argument for a different thesis altogether, but it does not have to be! Maybe you agree with the author’s main claim. In that case, suggest further ways to support that claim. Maybe you agree with the claim but think that the argument for that claim is bad. Provide a better argument. Maybe you agree with everything – in that case, suggest further implications or applications of the author’s argument.
Tip: if you’re not sure what you have to say, imagine having a chat with the author of the op-ed – what would you ask them? What would you want to know more about? How might they answer your questions? Do you think they have good answers to your questions? Why?


Explain briefly (100-200 words) what were the main changes that you made to the ‘reconstruction’ and ‘assessment’ parts, in light of the comments you received on your Ex2. This is a chance for you to explain why you chose to focus on some aspect of the comments rather than another, for instance. It’s also a way for you to communicate with your reader (in this case, the TA) how you engaged with their comments. If you do not understand the comments – reach out to the TA and ask! Go to their office hours (to be announced), for example.

Exercise structure:

Copy-paste the main comment that the TA gave you (This is the long comment, where the grade is) on Ex2.
Reflection. 100-200 words.
Revised ‘reconstruction+assessment’, followed by the newly added ‘response’ portion. 700-1000 words.

This submission is an improvement over the previous draft. It synthesizes information from Mason’s article in a neutral tone. However, Mason’s argument is not fully conveyed in part because the leading sentence does not convey an argumentative thesis but a statement of fact. A potential thesis is suggested in the annotation. The second, third, and fourth paragraphs establish the context at length which is not necessary to reconstruct the argumentative structure of Mason’s article. To revise, those paragraphs can be condensed and appended to the statement of the thesis in an opening paragraph. Supporting arguments (such as the controversy surrounding back-to-school policies and Mason’s defense of provincial plans to reopen schools) should then be explained in subsequent paragraphs and connected to Mason’s argumentative thesis.
This submission also lacks an argument assessment section as required in the submission guidelines (in which some part of Mason’s argument is problematized and criticized).

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