In this essay, students must propose and argue for a specific change that you believe will help improve a community you belong to. We all belong to many different communities so be sure to specify what particular community your essay is focused on (workplace, your school [UFV], your apartment building, neighbourhood, or town, or province, etc.). The essay needs to present reasoning and evidence to persuade your reader that the change you propose will be a good one. Your final research essay for this course will build on this paper by using scholarly research to support the proposal you make here.
As Bronwyn Williams explores in the essay “Home and Away,” we all belong to multiple communities, some of which we are born into and shape us from early childhood, and others which we become a part of later in life. Since each community comes with its own distinct set of expectations around how to speak and act in that group, scholars sometimes call these “discourse communities.” The communities we are most familiar and comfortable with (like our family, or the neighborhood we grew up in) scholars sometimes call our “primary discourses,” while the ones we join later in life (like the community of UFV students, or a sports team you join, or an online chat group, or workplace, or a new city you move to) they call “secondary discourses.” Everyone is a member of dozens (even hundreds) of different communities, and a goal of this assignment is to build on Williams’ ideas by beginning to think actively and critically about the communities you belong to, their current characteristics and properties, and imagining how they might be changed or improved.
In thinking about your topic, work from the general to the specific:
Decide which community you want to examine.
Within that community, identify a situation that currently exists.
Within that situation, identify a problem: ask whether something could be better than it is now.
Come up with a solution to the problem you identify.
Articulate your proposal in the form of a strong and focused thesis statement. Brainstorm reasons in favour of the change you propose, and select the strongest few to help support your argument. The essay should clearly establish the problem, define the solution, and prove that the proposed solution will help matters.
+++Do not perform or include secondary research for this essay+++
You are encouraged to draw on concepts and passages from Williams’ essay to introduce the community you have chosen to focus on, but, otherwise this essay must build its case on a foundation of primary evidence (i.e. your own observations, experiences, and ideas) and rhetorical/ argumentative strategies (i.e. appeals to logic and reasoning, to your own relevant experience and knowledge, and to the values, sympathies, and needs of the presumed audience).
Length: 750-1000 words (appx 3-4 pages, double-spaced, 12pt font, standard 1-inch margins)
Your essay should have a title, a thesis statement inside an introductory paragraph, several well-developed body paragraphs, and a conclusion. (Forget the 5-paragraph format; have as many paragraphs as you need).
Be specific: you must write about a specific problem and solution: problems like “obesity” or “drug use,” for example, are too general, as are proposals like “support others” or “be nicer.” Focus on a problem and solutions that are specific to your community. Perhaps your workplace could change a certain policy to make employees’ lives easier, or you feel that bus service could be improved along specific routes in your town. This will make your arguments stronger and more persuasive.
Some words of advice:
Choose a topic that you know something about and a problem that you would really like to see fixed.
It doesn’t have to be (and likely shouldn’t be) a big or obvious problem (i.e. homelessness in Vancouver). In fact, think about smaller, more narrow and local issues that you have experienced directly.Don’t be shy to ask for help. I welcome course messages or office hour chats to address any concerns or questions, and to consult on any aspect of your essay. However, this help and feedback is more useful the more time you have to put it into practice before your essay is due.
Examples: Recurring issues or problems in your workplace; Things UFV could do better to meet student needs or improve campus; something that would improve your neighborhood or town.
Plagiarism is not an option. Any evidence of plagiarism (passing off the work of another as your own) will result in a grade of 0 on this assignment or worse. Ask if you are not sure whether something constitutes plagiarism.
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