Common Core Standards: ELA
SL.9-10.3. Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence.
It might be fun to go through life completely gullible, believing everything everyone else says, or completely skeptical, refusing to believe any statement that reaches one’s ears (or eyes). Or it might be a confusing, lonely, and possibly dangerous existence. Either way, it’s always beneficial to have critical reasoning skills to fall back on to decide whether someone or something can and should be trusted. This speaking and listening standard asks students to listen to speakers and then evaluate what the speaker is saying. Does it make sense? What is the speaker’s point? How does the speaker support that point? Does the supporting evidence actually support that point, or does it work against the speaker, and how?
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Using this Standard
- 1984 Teacher Pass
- A Rose For Emily Teacher Pass
- Animal Farm Teacher Pass
- Antigone Teacher Pass
- Fences Teacher Pass
- Great Expectations Teacher Pass
- Hamlet Teacher Pass
- Heart of Darkness Teacher Pass
- Julius Caesar Teacher Pass
- Lord of the Flies Teacher Pass
- Moby Dick Teacher Pass
- Narrative of Frederick Douglass Teacher Pass
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Teacher Pass
- The Aeneid Teacher Pass
- The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale Teacher Pass
- The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Teacher Pass
- The Cask of Amontillado Teacher Pass
- The Catcher in the Rye Teacher Pass
- The Crucible Teacher Pass
- The Odyssey Teacher Pass
Sample Activities for Use in Class
In groups or as a class, have students brainstorm possible questions they might ask themselves if they were listening to a speaker and trying to figure out if the speaker’s arguments make sense. You may want to write these on the board, have students write them down, and/or collect them into a worksheet for students to use while evaluating a speaker.
Possible questions include:
Who is this person? Does she have any experience, education, or other qualities that suggest she knows what she’s talking about? If not, does she refer to sources that know what they’re talking about? How can I tell?
What is she trying to prove?
Does her train of thought from point A to point B make sense? If not, where does it derail?
What examples does she use to support her point? Are they good examples? Can I think of better examples? Can I think of examples that show the opposite?
What parts of this story confuse me? What information would I need to clear up these parts, or to tell whether they are true or false?
Is the speaker persuading me to agree with her - do I “buy what she’s selling,” either literally or figuratively? If not, why not? What other evidence might convince me to agree with the speaker?
2. ...and Answers<.em>
While listening to the essay, have students think about the questions they developed in the previous activity (or questions you provide) and take notes that help them analyze the persuasive essay they’re hearing. Once the reading and note-taking is finished, have students discuss in groups or as a class their answers to the questions and what could be improved in the persuasive essay.
Quiz 1 QuestionsHere's an example of a quiz that could be used to test this standard.
Questions 1-10 are based on the following passage, taken from the CDC:
Man and woman's best friend bites more than 4.7 million people a year, and key experts believe that public education can help prevent these bites. The third full week of May is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the United States Postal Service, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are each working to educate Americans about dog bite prevention.
Each year, 800,000 Americans seek medical attention for dog bites; half of these are children. Of those injured, 386,000 require treatment in an emergency department and about 16 die. The rate of dog bite-related injuries is highest for children ages 5 to 9 years, and the rate decreases as children age. Almost two thirds of injuries among children ages four years and younger are to the head or neck region. Injury rates in children are significantly higher for boys than for girls.