[MUSIC PLAYING] Hi, everyone. I'm Mackenzie, and today we're learning about drafting and the rhetorical situation. Have you ever taken the time to think about your own thinking? In this tutorial, we'll learn about the definition of the rhetorical situation. We'll discuss the connection between drafting and the rhetorical situation. And we'll practice using meta-awareness with the rhetorical situation.
We'll begin by discussing the definition of the rhetorical situation. The rhetorical situation refers to the author's purpose, presumed audience, cultural and historical context, and the author's own background. And it relates to the choices the author makes regarding the topic of the writing and the ways in which the writing is written. We can use the rhetorical situation to help us when we analyze other people's writing so that we can develop a better understanding and insight into the writing, and we can use rhetorical situation to help us in our own writing. It helps us to better prepare and evaluate our own writing so that we can strengthen our writing.
We can use the rhetorical situation to help us when we are working on the drafting stage of the writing process. The writing process is flexible. We have control over the writing process. And that means that we have the option to be self-reflective when it comes to what we're writing.
This helps us when we're drafting our actual writing itself. Being self-reflexive is sometimes referred to as meta or meta-awareness. "Meta" means thinking about your own thinking.
And that's essentially what we're doing when we're using the writing process. We have to think about the thoughts we're having in order to write them down. We especially use this in the writing process when we are brainstorming and pre-writing. This also helps us when we are drafting a piece of writing. We have to think about the things we're thinking so that we can write them.
This also helps us with the rhetorical situation because the rhetorical situation itself is an example of meta-awareness. When we think about the different components of the rhetorical situation, we're thinking critically and reflectively about our own situation, our own background, and our own context and the ways in which it impacts our writing.
In order to be self-reflexive or to use meta-awareness in our writing, there are some questions we can ask ourselves as we're drafting our writing. These questions include-- what are my biases? What are my assumptions? Who is my audience? What is my purpose? And what is my background?
These questions directly relate to the rhetorical situation of our own writing. And by asking ourselves these questions, we can gain a better insight into our own writing and our own thinking, our meta-awareness. Specifically, here's how we think about each question individually.
We first think about our own biases. Do we have a bias related to this topic? If so, what is it? And in our thinking about the topic or our writing about the topic, are we avoiding, embracing, or explaining the bias or biases in any particular way? If you're not addressing them, do you think you should be? Do you think a bias or biases that you maintain about the topic are leading to any faulty reasoning or logical fallacies in your writing?
We also have to consider our own assumptions about the topic. What am I assuming to be true or false about the topic? What am I assuming about my audience? When we think about the audience, we have to ask ourselves who the intended audience is because that influences how we write the information and what we choose to write about. It helps us to decide what language we will use to communicate our ideas, what approach or style will be best suited to that audience. It helps us figure out how to persuade the audience if that's one of our goals.
When we think about the ways in which we are approaching our audience, we have to ask ourselves if we are alienating our audience. Are we offending them in some way? And if so, is it intentional? Sometimes the tactic of intentionally alienating the audience can be useful because it can gain the audience's attention, it can shock them, or it can make them uncomfortable, all of which may encourage them to continue reading what we have written.
Next we think about our purpose. What is the purpose of the piece of writing? Why are we writing about this particular topic in this particular way? What do we want the audience to know after having read our piece of writing?
We think critically about whether or not we are meeting the goals of our purpose. And we think about the ways in which our own background influences what we have chosen to write about and how we have chosen to write it. Do you have some sort of background experience with the topic? Do you have some strong viewpoints or opinions about the topic related to anything in your background?
Maybe there's something happening within your community, your city, state, your country, even the world that impacts the way that you view this topic. Maybe you have experience within your own personal life or within your own family that relates to the topic. If you do have a connection to the topic, it may be easier to acknowledge the ways in which your background relates to the rhetorical situation of your writing. If you don't happen to have prior experience with the topic, it's important to think about the ways in which you can be related to the topic so that you can demonstrate the relevance of the topic you've chosen.
Thinking critically about our own writing and our own rhetorical situation using these questions helps us to practice meta-awareness, to be self-reflective about our own writing.
We are now going to take a look at a sample piece of writing and analyze it using meta-awareness and the rhetorical situation. This is a piece of writing that I wrote. So I will guide you through my own meta-awareness of my rhetorical situation as it relates to the topic I chose and the ways in which I describe the topic.
This is actually a small snippet of a larger essay. I wrote this essay about the idea that senior drivers should be required to retake their driving tests to keep their driver's licenses. Let's read the essay aloud. And then we'll discuss the connection to the rhetorical situation.
"Across the United States, jokes and stereotypes are made about senior drivers, alluding to the idea that Americans perceive senior citizens to be poor drivers. David Motton, a journalist for The Telegraph, describes a survey conducted by Auto Trader magazine, stating that 73% of respondents agree that the driving skills and behaviors of senior-- 65 years and older-- drivers can be concerning. This finding proves that many Americans view the driving of older drivers as a potential safety risk, which demonstrates the need for legal policy regarding this problem. Although some may argue that purposefully targeting one demographic of drivers is discriminatory-- or ageist, in the case of senior citizens-- facts and statistics clarify the nature of the problem."
At this point in the essay, I go on to describe some of those facts and statistics. Now we can think critically and reflectively-- meta-awareness-- about the rhetorical situation. First, we'll think about the authorial bias. Am I representing any sort of bias by what I've written?
It's possible that I am biased against senior drivers. They are the focus and target of my argument. Next I have to think about any unstated assumptions that I am indirectly making through what I've written. It's possible that I am assuming that the audience is not senior citizens. If I were intentionally targeting senior citizens for this particular topic, I would have written the topic in a much different way.
And that relates to our next question, which is the intended audience and my connection to that audience. Because I've already established that an unstated assumption is that the audience is not senior drivers, that means that the intended audience is drivers other than senior drivers.
Now I think about the essay's purpose. My purpose is to persuade my readers that senior drivers should be required to retake driving tests to keep their driver's licenses. I do need to remember to look back at my thesis and reflect on whether or not my purpose as demonstrated in the thesis, as well.
I think back to the time when I was 16 years old. One week after having received my driver's license, an elderly driver crashed into the car that I had worked for two summers straight to earn for myself. Perhaps this has skewed my interpretation of the topic, and that may be represented in my writing. I have to think critically about that.
And I also need to ask myself whether or not there are any items of cultural or historical relevance related to my topic. The fact that many Americans drive and that many Americans are senior citizens is part of our culture, and therefore, it's relevant to those living in our culture. Answering questions about my own rhetorical situation as it relates to the topic I chose for my writing and the ways in which I wrote the information helps me to practice meta-awareness, which will build and strengthen my writing.
In this tutorial, we learned about the definition of the rhetorical situation. We discussed the connection between drafting and the rhetorical situation. And we practiced using meta-awareness with the rhetorical situation. Take time to think about your thinking. I'm Mackenzie. Thanks for listening.