View Full Version : Can I use Dialectic books with Rhetoric level discussion?
We'll be finishing Units 3&4 in 9th grade and I would like to bump ds up to the Rhetoric level. I currently have all of the Dialectic history books for those units. My thought is to save money, but only if that's a good idea. Is it possible to use all or most of the dialectic level books and still accomplish the rhetoric level A&T questions and discussions? I know it wouldn't be perfect, but do you think they would cover enough of the same to work? Your thoughts/experience are appreciated.
I have no experience with what you describe, but since you already have all the D level books, why not give it a try for a week or two? Just assign the R level questions and use the R discussion script. This will give you input into how it would work for you.
My concern would be that the R level materials would include more and/or different information than D materials, but that is not always a clear cut difference.
03-31-2011, 09:53 AM
My thought is this: it probably won't be the best way to approach it, and I wouldn't choose this route if I could avoid it, but it IS possible if it's your only way to do TOG in hard times. Let me expand.
It's not the best way to approach it because, when we write two different discussion outlines for two different learning levels, there are really significant differences between the two. Dialectic outlines focus more on making sure that the student has grasped the concrete content of the week's history, and then goes on to help him make connections with previously learned stuff (in earlier eras), or between aspects of the current week's topic and worldview topics, etc. The rhetoric books, and the related outlines we offer that spring from them, cover the same era in a more interpretive fashion. For instance, a dialectic student will read a book on Mao Zedong that will be a straightforward biography. The rhetoric students read a book called "Mao Zedong" too, but it goes deeply into the roots of Mao's thought, and so does the discussion outline. There's no way that an older student could answer the questions offered during this week-plan in the rhetoric outline from the straightforward dialectic book.
Now, that said, it's not ALWAYS the case. MANY rhetoric-level books are more straightforward, factual books that are much similar to dialectic-level ones; they tend to have more detail and use elevated language. The questions we ask and the discussion analysis questions that spring from this kind of resource are more "common sense" questions that ask students to think about the reading in an advanced way, but not dependent on advanced readings. An example of this would be where rhetoric students in Year 4 are assigned relatively simple biographies of Hitler, Stalin, and FDR, and then asked to analyze them (and compare them) as leaders. The weeks that cover these men collectively contribute to a year-plan long, major theme of asking upper level students to think about leadership--what it is, and what it is not, and how to be a good leader--over the course of the year's study. THIS thread does not *require* the upper level books, necessarily, just upper-level thinking. However, as you noted in your post, the questions asked even for these simpler books won't perfectly match up. All biographies, for instance, are selective about facts and have their slants on their subjects. If money were an insurmountable issue, I'd rather do the extra work of using Internet resources, or supplying factual help from the Teacher's Notes than abandoning TOG altogether, but using even straightforward dialectic books for rhetoric preparation will, week by week, bring uphill slogging that, for the family who is not in hard times, seems like an unnecessary additional burden to shoulder for both moms and kids.
So... having unpacked it a bit, let me return to my initial statement: saving money by reusing dialectic books for rhetoric-level studies probably won't be the *best* way to approach it, and I wouldn't *choose* this route if I could avoid it, but it *is* possible if it's your only way to do TOG in hard times.
Thank you so much for the detailed reply! This is why really knowing what is in the curriculum and how it all works together gives an insight that I needed.
Marcia said, "... for rhetoric preparation will, week by week, bring uphill slogging..." That statement says it all to me. While it won't be easy, I can find the money for the Rhetoric books this year. I do not wish to place undue burdens on my new Rhetoric student, or myself, as his teacher. We have enough uphill slogging to do with all of his other subjects. Thank you so much for sharing this. I'm really glad I asked this question, or I might have made a big mistake, causing frustration for both ds and myself.
May God's blessing be on you, both.
04-05-2011, 05:37 PM
Glad it was helpful! Take care. http://tapestryofgrace.groupee.net/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif
04-06-2011, 04:07 PM
I am certainly not going to argue with Marcia, but I did have a thought in another direction. Does your rising 9th grader really need to start Rhetoric level the first semester? Why not make the transition to Rhetoric when you move to unit 1 of the next year of Tog during second semester?
One advantage to waiting until the beginning of the next yearplan is that the earlier units of a yearplan are easier, meant to help students get a more gentle start. You will lose this benefit if you jump up to the next level mid-yearplan.
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