Ethos, Pathos and Logos
Ethos is often translated as credibility, but with the resonance of ethical behavior.
For you as a teacher, because the students see nothing of us except our class “selves,” this means that we mirror the standards and behaviors which we want our students to exhibit.
We cannot expect students to measure up to standards which we don’t meet ourselves.
- Coming well-prepared.
- Arriving on-time.
- Doing the same reading that the students do in preparation for the class, even if it’s the sixth time re-reading the same material. It helps to make this obvious by throwing in comments like “When I got to this section last night, I had to look up these two words because I realized I wasn’t sure exactly what they mean.”
- Teaching for the entire class period.
- Being open to learning as well as to teaching.
- Appearing to be well-organized both for the day and for the quarter. This includes having handouts for assignments available about two weeks before due dates, keeping the teacher’s desk as neat as possible, and making board writing legible.
- Knowing the names of the students within a reasonable period of time. Ways to Learn Student Names
- Having a fair system of grading papers and determining course grades – and holding to that system throughout the quarter.
- Having fair expectations of student performance.
- Passing out written assignment sheets and not expecting oral directions to suffice for any graded work.
- Writing clear assignments sheets that are grammatically correct and perfectly spelled.
- Returning written work within one week of the time it is received.
- Dealing kindly with students as you would expect to be treated yourself. This means that if you have to confront a student with plagiarism or with anything the least bit embarrassing that the confrontation will happen privately.
- Giving credit for articles you copy and ideas you borrow, and not using student work publicly unless you have received permission to do so.
- Keeping track of student writing as best you can – try not to lose their papers.
- Allowing for individual learning styles and individual interests – this means that you should probably offer more than one choice for a writing assignment. It might even mean offering alternative WAYS of fulfilling that assignment.
- Scrupulously avoiding favoritism or discrimination. Ask a fellow teacher to come in and observe the class if you think you might even appear to be tending toward either one.
Pathos: Translated as appealing to the emotions,
moving the “hearts” of the students to pity, laughter, love, or any other
feeling. This is not about YOUR
emotions (though your own emotions may guide you), but the emotions of the
that you care about the individual students by passing out a questionnaire
(like the one Julie Sartwell developed) on the first day of class; it
should address issues like preparation for the class, background in
English, and personal stresses, such as course load and work. In addition, it should have a question
which would allow students to reveal learning issues.
to your students by having private meetings with each student, preferably
in the first three weeks. You can
talk about their writing, but also ask about their goals, learning styles,
fears (maybe/ maybe not), hopes, etc.
readings with emotional appeal, such as Pedro and Me, My Year of Meats,
The #1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress,
Kitchen, etc. Use poetry and short stories that appeal to students who
are mostly ages 18-24 and which may touch their hearts.
films to supplement the readings, and be certain to use ones that have
emotional appeal as well, such as Bowling for Columbine, The Gods Must
Be Crazy, Boyz ‘n the Hood.
written note of praise or concern is good, but a private, spoken
word to a student who did a particularly noteworthy job or who is
currently suffering will go directly to that student’s heart.
praise (overheads of well-written sections from student papers - Good Writing) and
clapping for those accomplishments.
– one way is to use cartoons on your assignment sheets, but do it in your
own way. I can’t tell you how to
- Building exercises in which each person is listened to carefully and many students
find that their thoughts are repeated and/ or respected by others.
using sample essays from former students, try to find ones that will touch
the hearts of the students as well as show appropriate form.
a photo of the class outside your office (as Kathy Flores does) or on your
website is a great way to connect with them.
Logos: (dictionary.com): Philosophy. In
pre-Socratic philosophy, the principle governing the cosmos, the source of this
principle, or human reasoning about the cosmos.
OR Among the Sophists, the
topics of rational argument or the arguments themselves.
We expect logic from our students, so we must be logical
a logical sequence of assignments and exercises, so that each one builds
upon skills learned in the previous one.
- Developing writing assignments such that students placed at
that level could reasonably be expected to be successful at those
up an agenda for the day and following that agenda as far as
possible. It is great if we can
mention our learning goals for the day and summarize at the close of the
class. In short, a well-taught
class may, on some days, be like a well-written essay. [Other days, chaos can be fruitful,
our required readings to the department course outlines so that the
difficulty is at the right level and we don’t duplicate readings used at
other levels of the English curriculum. Readings
should be challenging and aimed at the demographic of our students, but
shouldn’t be so long or so abstruse that they bore the students.
fairly. This doesn’t mean that we
must reveal our grades or even the number of A’s, B’s, etc., but it does
mean that students who compare papers should be able to see the difference
between an A and a C, for example.
grading “transparent.” Judy Hubbard holds a class discussion about grading
and then asks students to grade sample papers which she hands out. After they have graded the essays, they
have a discussion about those grades.
if possible, show sample papers before drafts are due and explain exactly why and how you graded
a rubric for grading which is explicit and clear on the assignment sheet
and is repeated on the grading material.
the curriculum out of material that will actually be useful for the
students to master. This doesn’t
mean that we should never teach our favorites or the subject of our own
research, but it does mean that we need to help students to develop skills
that extend beyond identifying conceits in Metaphysical poetry.
up-to-date on the rules for research documentation and on current web
tools that will benefit our students.