Crossing Cultural and Gender Borders to Change the Way We Use Discourse in the Classroom

Keith Lloyd


Though many teachers have adopted collaborative models for teaching writing and literature, much of classroom discussion, in small or large groups, is driven by the assumption that arguing ideas is a competitive exercise. Generally, essays written in this context are “counter-positional” and “agonistic,” supporting points by eliminating/discrediting others and shaped by either/or extremes. Such extreme views create false dichotomies rather than thought-out perspectives, a reflection of the often counter-productive argument students see most in the media. Such argumentation actually polarizes people and shuts down dialogue. To adopt other models, we need to look across the borders of argumentative discussion. This essay offers two alternative models of collaboration and essay construction, one from India, based in an approach to argument known as Nyāya, the other based on feminist perspectives based in the ideas of Sonja Foss and Cynthia Griffin).


Gender; Collaboration; Discourse; Rhetoric

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