In addition to examining what op-eds include, you will also want to look at how op-eds respond to a topic. That is, writers of op-eds make one of several moves to provide the structure and organization for the op-ed. I’ve provided you with a handout created by one of my NWP colleagues that I think you will find useful. You’ll want to consider how the examples you read use one of the moves described on the handout from Linda Densteadt. Thinking about these moves and how the writers use them will help you plan how to organize your own op-ed later. The moves are the way the op-ed is organized—where does the writing start and how does it move through the evidence, reasoning, claims, and counterclaims? Where does it end or how does it conclude?
Note: I’ve chosen these op-eds specifically because they do the following things:
- They demonstrate the “unending conversation” that Burke describes in his parlor metaphor. That is, they show that many educational topics are ongoing, never ending, and have multiple perspectives—lots of people talking about what needs to happen in education. The big, unending topic is what should students learn in school?
- I chose these op-eds because they further your ability to respond to the specific conversation about educational issues. That is, your op-ed that you will eventually write will need to respond to the conversation. Seeing how others respond through op-ed can help you develop your own argument later on.
- These pieces are good models for the essentials, possibles, and structure of op-eds in general.
Review: As you identified essentials and possibles, you should have noticed that op-eds represent an argument or someone’s stance (claim) on an issue or topic. That is, I hope you noticed that each op-ed responds to an argument (conversation) with its own nuanced claim (thesis) about the topic.
- In order to support the claim (thesis), each writer used logical, reasoned evidence from research.
- Writers provide commentary on the evidence used. That is, the writer explains in his/her own words what the evidence means and how it connects to the claim he/she is making.
- Writers also address the counterclaim in some way—some explicitly and others use the entire op-ed to respond as a rebuttal to a counterclaim.
- Op-eds begin by explaining the problem.
- Op-eds often end by providing a “call to action”.
To better see the structure, you will do a closer reading of one of the op-eds that you have already read. Choose one of the op-eds that you read to read more closely. You will complete a blog post that responds to the following reading exercises: