English 12

English 12 Final Project

Kelly R. '20

The Assignment:

"The culminating project for this course requires you to develop and present a meaningful argument of your own.  As informed citizens who understand the elements of effective arguments, I expect that you will take time to think about issues that matter to you personally, but also consider issues that matter to our community at large - here at Porter’s, in CT, in the US, or globally. What is something you would like to bring attention to and what would be the best way for you to do so?  


You should begin by brainstorming ideas about what you would like to focus on and you will formalize a driving question to frame your selected argument. As you hone your ideas, it will be most important for you to determine why your argument matters. Consider the following questions as you narrow down your topic and outline your ideas: Is this a significant enough issue/topic for you to spend time on? Why should anyone care about what you are focusing on? What new perspective are you bringing to an issue (especially if it is one that people are already aware of)?  


The main requirements of this project are to:

  1. develop a line of inquiry or driving question for your argument - determine what problem you hope to draw attention to, propose a solution for, etc.

  2. identify a specific audience

  3. clarify/specify your purpose (to inform, to call to action, to provoke change, to bring attention to an issue, etc.)

  4. engage in research to logically and convincingly develop your argument

  5. effectively persuade your audience through the purposeful creation/use of rhetorical appeals

  6. work with mentors to seek feedback on your argument throughout the process

  7. create an annotated bibliography citing your research and how you utilized your sources

  8. present your work to an authentic audience (a specific group of people, a specific business, the whole school, specific online publication, etc.)

  9. reflect on and be able to justify/explain your choices throughout the process


Developing a line of inquiry & driving question: You should begin by thinking about the types of things you pay attention to in your life, (or begin by examining more closely the things you miss that could use more of your attention!). What sparks your curiosity? What do you wonder about? What are your opinions about elements of our community, society, daily life? What types of problems do you see around you or in the country/world? Why are these issues emerging? What sorts of resolutions could you propose for those problems? 


Make a list of questions you genuinely want answers to and make a list of topics you are most interested in or have the strongest opinions about. Determine which interest you most, think about which are most important for others to be aware of, and narrow down an area of focus for your argument. 


Researching your topic in order to present a convincing argument: A big part of this process involves reading and informing yourself about the issues related to your driving question in order to finalize the specific focus of your research. This is a chance to educate yourself about the various viewpoints people might have on the topic you have selected. Remember that an argument is most persuasive when it is clear that opposing viewpoints have been acknowledged and refuted.


Determining a presentation method: Consider what your strengths are and think about who your intended audience will be for your argument as that can shape your choices quite a bit.  Consider which medium you feel most comfortable working with as well and try to utilize strengths you already have. Are you comfortable speaking publicly and want to present your argument in front of a large group? Are you more comfortable creating videos and think that would be the best way to deliver your argument? Are you hoping to engage others through your writing and wish to publish your work to a broad audience? 


You will also need to make choices about the overall quality of your argument - how many words, minutes, etc. should your work be in order to effectively persuade your audience? What images, sounds, sources, details, strategies, etc. are most important to use?


Seeking feedback from mentors: I am not your only resource for this project. I will serve as a guide for you through this process, but ultimately, you will need to seek feedback from others who might be more knowledgable about or engaged in your particular topic. This may require you to work with our Alumnae office to connect with Ancients who might be willing to assist you or give you feedback on anything you are planning or producing."