“Its to help kids like that”
- This claim may seem thoughtful, however, it really alienates the children being spoken of by labeling them as “the other”.
- This claim suggests that these kids have not gotten sufficient assistance for their situation and calls for a need to change that.
- This claim states that the thing being used for the children is beneficial and necessary, which could be argued. It falls under an evaluative claim.
“Brannan and her volunteers put together an informational packet on secondary trauma for parents to give to teachers”
- The wording “Brannan and her volunteers” states in a way that Brannan is the driving force and the volunteers are merely her followers, which is true to an extent but also creates a dividing language between those involved in the project.
- “put together an informational packet” is vague-does this include stats? Stories? Ways to help? What is in the packet that makes it so important?
- “For parents to give to teachers” is not clear-how will it be distributed? Are they expecting all teachers to care about the situation? It needs more detail on how this information will be presented.
- This claim is most likely a causal claim because it is essentially explaining that the packets will cause teachers to consider the issue at hand.
“explaining their battle-worthy idiosyncrasies and sensory-processing sensitivities.”
- The word “their” is not clear in who it is referring to-the children? The parents? The teachers?
- This entire sentence honestly confuses me-it uses big words to its disadvantage and the meaning behind the sentence gets lost.
- The words “battle-worthy idiosyncrasies and sensory-processing sensitivities” suggest symptoms of being in close contact with someone with PTSD.
- This is a factual claim as it explains exactly what is in the packet.
- This is also a categorical claim because it categorizes the idiosyncrasies and sensitivities battles that the children have to face.
“They’re common enough problems”
- This sentence can be interpreted two different ways: either as these problems are not necessarily valid, but are common enough that they should be taken seriously, which is a disrespectful way of speaking of this issue.
- The more likely intended meaning behind this phrase is that the problem has occurred so many times that it has drawn quite a lot of attention to itself and raised alarm.
- This is an arguable claim that’s quality and truth can be judged and/or argued, making it an evaluative claim.
- This is also a quantitative claim because even though no specific amount is stated, the single word “enough” suggests that there is a borderline between common and not common.
“the Department of Health and Human Services got in touch with Brannan about distributing the packet more widely.”
- This adds a sense of urgency to the cause, as the Department of Health and Human Services felt the need to get involved.
- What does “more widely” refer to?
- Why did the DHHS want to get their hands in on this project? Why does it matter to them?
- This is a factual claim because there is no disputing that this happened-it is a fact that the DHHS contacted Brannan.
“Brannan gave the packet to Katie’s kindergarten teacher, but thinks the teacher just saw it as an excuse for bad behavior.”
- This sentence gives no insight into the teacher’s perspective. Brannan may have approached the teacher angrily or forcefully, giving the teacher a reason to believe that the packet was an excuse for bad behavior.
- “Thinks” does not allow readers to trust Brannan at all. It is claiming that the situation is entirely in Brannan’s head and she is exaggerating the conflict
- This statement is making a bold claim, which labels it as an ethical/moral claim. It is essentially stating that the teacher is in the wrong and that Brennan deserves to be listened to. It is one-sided and quite close-minded.
“Last fall, she switched Katie to a different school, where she hopes more understanding will lead to less anxiety.”
- “She switched Katie to a different school”-was this change consensual? Did Katie feel understood? Furthermore, did Brannan ever stop to ask Katie how she felt she was treated in school at all?
- “She hopes”-does she have reason to believe that anything will change? What is this hope based on and how does she think it will be achieved?
- “More understanding will lead to less anxiety”-this phrase does not name anyone, which is good but also implies that the change will magically happen, which is highly unlikely.
- This is a causal claim because it states that switching schools will cause a change in anxiety.
Very impressive, Flatbread! I greatly admire the number of claims you’ve identified in small bits of text and the quality of your insights as well. This is a model of a good Claims exercise.
—This sentence gives no insight into the teacher’s perspective. Brannan may have approached the teacher angrily or forcefully, giving the teacher a reason to believe that the packet was an excuse for bad behavior.
You’re so right, Flatbread. The author here is not taking any credit for the veracity of the claims she’s passing along as Brannan’s. She does not say, for example, “But the teacher saw it as an excuse.” She carefully and quietly presents the case as Brannan’s perspective. And as you deliberately imply, the teacher may well have been prejudiced by Brannan’s presentation, OR Brannan may be completely misinterpreting the teacher’s reaction to her and to the packet. Note that the author DOES NOT HAVE TO SAY that she is dubious of Brannan’s position. She lays it there for the reader to interpret.
—“Thinks” does not allow readers to trust Brannan at all. It is claiming that the situation is entirely in Brannan’s head and she is exaggerating the conflict.
I admire the insight here, but you may be overstating the author’s intention a bit. There’s a difference between ALLOWING readers to infer that Brannan might be exaggerating and SUGGESTING that Brannan is exaggerating. Note that she could have said, “but Brannan thinks TEACHERS see these packets as an excuse.” THAT would clearly indicate a prejudice against all teachers.
—This statement is making a bold claim, which labels it as an ethical/moral claim. It is essentially stating that the teacher is in the wrong and that Brannan deserves to be listened to. It is one-sided and quite close-minded.
I admire your boldness and the directness of your evaluation, but I disagree, Flatbread. And I think you’re contradicting yourself as well. You point out twice that the author casts doubt on Brannan’s version. To then conclude that the author blames the teacher for BOTH dismissing Brannan AND dismissing the “helpful” packet of “excuses” ignores what you’ve identified as the evidence that she might have been right to ignore Brannan.
I hope it doesn’t seem contradictory for me to praise the quality of your work and then argue with you about it. Your point of view throughout this exercise is clearly and succinctly presented, excellent qualities I’m eager to acknowledge, develop, and support. As for a good argument, I’m always in the mood. Just glad you’re willing to engage.
You are invited to revise this post before or after grading, Flatbread, but not required to. I do expect you to respond, however, to indicate your respect for the feedback process. Thanks!
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