In The Basement Of The Ivory Tower By Professor X (Essay Sample)
Our final academic essay this semester will be to write a critique of one of our class readings.
As described in class, critiques make an objective evaluation of a text by (1) identifying the purpose and intended message of the writer and (2) assessing how effective the text is and how successful the writer has been in achieving his/her purpose. Unlike argumentative essays, critiques are not meant to share your personal opinions about a topic or to say whether you agree or disagree with someone else's ideas; therefore, the questions you should be answering in a critique are: “Is this article/essay effective? Does it achieve the writer's purpose? What are the strengths and weaknesses of this text?”
You will choose one of the following articles/essays to critique:
1. “In the Basement of the Ivory Tower” by Professor X (The Atlantic)
2. “Hidden Intellectualism” by Gerald Graff (TSIS)
✓ Academic essay structure: introduction, body, and conclusion ✓ Academic essay formatting: title, 12-point Times New Roman font, double spacing, 1inch margins, etc. ✓ Minimum of 2 pages ✓ MLA style citations (as necessary) ✓ First draft + revision after receiving instructor and peer feedback to produce final (graded) draft
What to Include
Academic critiques generally include a brief summary of the article/essay you are critiquing, a critical analysis of the text's successes and failures (i.e., an explanation of both positive and negative [or effective and ineffective] elements of the text), and a final evaluation of the article/essay and how well it achieves its purpose.
Introduction Introduce the text and author you are critiquing
Identify the purpose and message of the text; summarize the main ideas
Include a thesis statement that shows you will be critiquing this text, and give a general indication of whether your evaluation will be mostly positive, mostly negative, or mixed
Summarize any other information/ideas from the text that you think are important for
readers to know (remember that this summary should only be a small part of your critique)
Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the text (What is effective? What is not effective?), being as objective as possible and explain why these should be considered strengths and weaknesses
When critiquing, think about and analyze all the different parts of the text: the information and specific details/examples the writer chose to include, the rhetorical strategies used, the structure/organization, the writing style, the overall importance or value of the text (Does it say something new? Does it help us understand more about the topic?), etc.
Give your overall evaluation of the text (positive, negative, mixed) and explain why
Offer suggestions for improvement: What would make this text more successful? What would you add or change to make it more effective and successful in achieving its purpose?
This assignment will be worth a total of 100 points, contributing 15% of your final course grade.
The first draft of your argumentative essay will count for 20 points of the assignment grade. This draft will primarily be graded for completion; therefore, you will receive full credit if you submit your first draft on time and meet the basic requirements of the assignment in terms of topic, formatting, and length.
The rest of your assignment grade will come from your revised final draft, which you will submit after receiving feedback from the instructor and several classmates. This draft will be graded for content (50 points), cohesion and organization (15 points), and language use (15 points). I will provide a detailed grading rubric before you submit your final draft so that you understand specifically what each of these categories will be graded for.
Critique of the Text
In the essay, “In the Basement of the Ivory Tower” by Professor X, the text talks about the status of his students taking two courses, English 101 and English 102. The author is a part-time instructor as a supplement to his job as a government bureaucrat. These two courses are compulsory to the learners regardless of the main program students are enrolled in. In the book, it is evidenced that most of the leaners are so poor because they cannot construct basic grammatically correct English sentence. The students have never read a book in their lifetime according to the professor and this proves why the professor says they deserve to fail. The professor is doing a remedial work, meaning that the students should have the basic skills about the course. The purpose of the text is, therefore, to address students to consider English to be primary since it elevates their communication skills both written and oral. In the essay, the author also acknowledges the fact that some students are focused on giving their best in the course. The author convinces the audience on how poor students are in his courses, hence achieving the purpose. However, the author contradicts himself when he envies other instructors whose disciplines have exemplary performance. He ends up not offering solutions to the problem in the institution. The paper gives an analysis of both the strength and weaknesses of the author in presenting the main idea of the text.
The author not only focuses on how the learners are poor but also the way the system is ineffective which diverts from the overall topic “The idea that a university education is for everyone is a destructive myth. An instructor at a “college of last resort” explains why.” A more logical and evidential argument could have been more convincing than what the professor has written which seems to be a personal expression of his classroom frustrations and the overall failure of the students. The leaners lack computer skills, research skills and cannot write a coherent sentence. All throughout the article the author blames the students and the system which makes it unauthentic or rather unbelievable. He is part of the system and he should own up for his part of the blame. He uses these pieces of evidence to get him out of the blame for being ineffective. He s
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