In our day-to-day life, we interact and communicate with many people in different situations. The situations in which we engage in these conversations vary from one another. Writers who write about issues that concern the public need to employ effective rhetoric in passing out their information. For effective conversation, it is imperative that the speaker or the writer adopts application of Lloyd Blitzer’s theory of rhetorical situation and Stephen Toulmin’s strategy for analyzing the structure of arguments. Toulmin model asserts that every argument has three elements: claim, grounds and warrant (Joan p. 2). When a person makes a claim, the ground to support the claim must also be given. The ground is then backed with a warrant. For instance, a person may claim that the use is on fire. The grounds of such claim would be there is some smoke coming out of the house. The warrant in this case is that smoke is a sign of fire. Therefore, there must be consistency in any argument to ensure that there is flow and understanding. On the other hand, Lloyd Blitzer’s theory of rhetorical situation comes in handy in helping people to communicate and pass out their feelings and opinions. According to this theory, communication varies depending with the situations, therefore, rhetoric discourse are created by audiences or speakers through rhetoric situations (Lloyd p.1)
Then newspaper commentary “To boost post-college prospects, cut humanities departments” by Cohen will provide a case study for the development or rather evaluation of whether effective rhetoric was applied in conjunction with Lloyd Blitzer’s theory and that of Toulmin’s strategy for analyzing the structure of the argument (Cohan, p. 1). The commentary points out the need for colleges to offer course of programmes that will add value to students and enable them get jobs after they complete their studies. Cohen argues that those departments that offer humanity courses should be scrapped to avoid huge expenses that students and parents meet in ensuring that they successfully complete their studies (Cohan, para. 5). The argument is that only courses that are viable and which guarantee good employment after completion should be offered to save the students and parents the agony of counting and reflecting on their lost investments and how they are going to service their high education loans. In writing this commentary, various strategies were used to convey the message to the readers. The purpose of writing or communicating is to convey thoughts or opinions on a given subject to the third party. Communication is therefore structured putting in mind various issues such as the target audience, the message and the speaker among others.
The author begins the commentary with a rhetoric situation. The first paragraph helps the readers to clearly understand the target audience and the message that the author wishes to discuss in the commentary. It sets the stage for the discussion. For instance, when a reader reads the first paragraph of the commentary, the audience target comes out clearly as college students and the major problem or issue is about courses that do not provide employment upon their graduation. For instance, the first paragraph begins with the phrase, “half of freshly minted college graduates are unemployed or underemployed” (Cohan, para. 1). This phrase shows the reader/the audience and the issues to be discussed i.e. unemployment among graduates. The author has also applied Toulmin’s model of argument in arguing his points. The claim made is that half of students coming from college are either employed or unemployed. This claim is then grounded by providing statistics figures of US dollars that is used to provide loans to these students to pay for their tuition fees. The high number of students who are unemployed may avoid such debts by doing other courses or not joining these learning institutions (Cohan, para. 1). The argument is then summed up with a warrant, which requires that courses that do not enable students to get jobs be scrapped. This op-ed is an effective response to the situation that the author provides. It is true that many students are graduating and staying unemployed. They spend colossal sums of money in colleges doing courses that are not on demand. Therefore, one way of ensuring that students do not incur such expenses is to abolish such courses from the learning institutions.
The second paragraph expands the discussion by including other stakeholders such as the educationalist and the department of labor. The mismatch that exists between these two institutions is the cause of many problems the youth face. The demands of the labor are different from the skills and competences that are developed in these students. Therefore, the ball stops with the institution of higher learning as well as the Ministry of Labor. This mismatch is supported by tangible facts and statistics. For instance, it is estimated that around 1.5 million students with bachelor’s degrees were not employed last year (Cohan, para. 5). Therefore, the author develops the second paragraph from the previous one by demonstrating why it could be important for humanity courses and other social courses that do not provide employment needs to be done away with. The author sets argument by further claiming that 5.3 percent of students from colleges aged below 25 years were not employed (Cohan, para. 2). He compares the prevalence rate of unemployment and argues that last year was the worst affected in the last eleven years. Therefore, use of rhetoric is effective in this op-ed because it provides the situation and delivers enough backing of the claims.
Effective rhetoric has also been employed in the third paragraph. The paragraph opens with the argument that college students are often employed in jobs that does not require college education (Cohan, para. 3). This claim resonates with the view of the author of doing away with the college education since it does not add value to the students. Further information is presented to support the claim. For instance, many students are employed as waiters and barmaids while few manage to get jobs as mathematicians, physicists and engineers (Cohan, para. 5). The author does not merely provide information but ensures that it is well supported with tangible evidence. An audience or rather stakeholders can easily be convinced by the commentary due to the facts and arguments that are presented. The facts are supported with credible sources of information. For instance, statistics of the jobs that graduates do is sourced from the Department of Labor.
In the consequent paragraphs, the author developed his arguments well putting in mind various rhetoric situations. Even though other students get white collar jobs they begin to work as receptionists and therefore not given an opportunity to be at the high ranks. The argument arrived is that there is still limited opportunity for the college students to get gainful employment even with their degrees. However, it is also true that not all courses offered have low employment opportunities (Cohan, para. 6). For instance, a person who has done accounting or nursing has more chances of securing employment than a person who has done philosophy or zoology. The author argument is well supported as he quotes that the source of the information is from a credible source, the Department of Labor. The emphasis of doing away with such departments as humanity is reiterated again by the author but again demonstrates that not all those who purse such courses like History do not get employment. The author uses this approach to balance his argument not to appear biased. It is also true that there are courses that may not be valuable in the country but valuable to others. Therefore, it is imperative that the demands of the markets dictate the kind of course that should be offered.
The commentary ends with emphasis on the need to abolish courses that are not promising for the students in future. This ending captures or reinstates the argument of the author about departments that are not providing skills to students to help them acquire gainful employment. The author develops his argument by claiming that abolishing will help such students to get into employment earlier, save them from high loans that they are expected to repay after studies and will save the parents’ investments. I find the commentary interesting. The author has incorporated the two theories in his commentary conveying his message precisely. The arguments are well supported by facts from credible sources of information and they can be held to be true and not mere speculation of the writer. Rhetoric situations in the commentary have been well attended to by the author. For instance, he has managed to address the students, employers, educationalists as well as parents.
Cohan, Peter. “To Boost Post-College Prospects, Cut Humanities Departments.”
Forbes 29 May 2012. Web. www.forbes.com/sites/petercohan/2012/05/29/to-boost- post-college-prospects-cut-humanities-departments/
Joan, Kabrach. Using Toulmin’s model of argument. Journal of teaching writing. Retrieved from: https://journals.iupui.edu/index.php/teachingwriting/article/viewFile/821/810
Lloyd, Bitzer. The rhetorical situation. Retrieved from: https://journals.iupui.edu/index.php/teachingwriting/article/viewFile/821/810