Commonplace Book #2: The Conversation

Intro 1: “Many readers believe that schools with high suspension rates are boosting the achievement of the students who don’t misbehave. However, research on the state of Indiana, which controlled for poverty and race, found that lower-suspending schools had higher achievement rates (Skiba, 2014). Similarly, a study that tracked every middle school student in Texas over six years and controlled for over 80 variables found no academic benefits in schools with higher suspension rates (Fabelo, 2011).” Source: https://civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/resources/projects/center-for-civil-rights-remedies/school-to-prison-folder/federal-reports/are-we-closing-the-school-discipline-gap/AreWeClosingTheSchoolDisciplineGap_FINAL221.pdf

In this introduction, the writers do use “they say” by summarizing the other side of the discipline gap. They argue that, “schools with high suspension rates are boosting the achievement of the students who don’t misbehave”. The authors do a quality job of immediately countering this argument by inserting their “I say”. They used evidence from a credited source to prove that “lower-suspending schools had higher achievement rates”. This format mirrors Graff’s form almost identically. It’s a very effective example of how to embrace the “they say/I say” skill.

Intro 2: “The term ‘Third World’ was used frequently in histories of the societies, economies and cultures of many parts of the world in the second half of the twentieth century. But, although the phrase was widely used, it was never clear whether it was a clear category of analysis, or simply a convenient and rather vague label for an imprecise collection of states in the second half of the twentieth century and some of the common problems that they faced. Not even enthusiasts for the term provided any precision.” Source: B.R. Tomlinson “What was the third world?”

In this introduction, the writer also has a quality example of using “they say”. The other side claims, “the term ‘Third World’ was used frequently in histories of the societies, economies and cultures of many parts of the world in the second half of the twentieth century”. Like Graff states in the book, the author should summarize without sound accusatory or bias. Tomlinson does an excellent job of summarizing without showing which side he agrees with. In the next line, he effectively uses “I say” to counter the previous argument. This introduction is a wonderful example of the “they say/I say” method.

 

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