this essay is analyzing and critiquing the paradigm
the introduction of paradigm please see the attached files, and there are some examples in the “Introduction to Social Paradigms” please read that before you start the essay, thank you!!
my instructor really care about our own ideas, so i need more self viewpoints in this essay.
my topic is japanese language students in america which means the japanese learners in the u.s.( including why the 2nd generation japanese immigrant are learning japanese too?)and the students who just learning for fun or major in japanese.
Essay #2: Analyzing and Critiquing a Paradigm
For your next essay, you will describe and analyze a particular paradigm and then form a critique of that paradigm. You choose which paradigm to analyze, so long as 1.) it is a specific social group you are at least somewhat familiar with and 2.) you get your paradigm approved by me before writing your paper. Paradigm approval is best reached through completing Board Assignment #5.
Your paradigm can be almost any group who shares a collective point of view towards a particular field: a group who share the same work or profession; a particular club or organizations members; people who belong to the same sporting team; a group of people who share the same hobby or past-time activity; people who share the same major in school; any specific religious or political group; a subculture of some kind; enthusiasts or fans of any kind, etc. Be creative, but again, choose a paradigm you know in some manner.
Once your paradigm choice is approved, describe and analyze that paradigm in depth and detail. Attempt to answer most, if not all, of these questions:
What is this paradigm called among its members?
What kinds of people are drawn to this paradigm and what are they generally like, socially and psychologically?
What is the history of this paradigm?
In what ways is this specific paradigm like or unlike other paradigms related to or associated with this paradigm?
What are the paradigm members goals and methods of reaching those goals?
What are the definitions of some key terms or lingo relating to this paradigm?
What is a typical day in the life of a paradigm member regarding their paradigm?
The more detailed your answers, the better. Research is highly encouraged. You can usually devote one full body paragraph to each of the above questions, but not every question above will apply to your paradigm and at times questions and answers can be successful combined.
Your next task is to use what youve described to critique your paradigm, that is, state an opinion about this social group. As a general start, ask yourself if the paradigm seems psychologically healthy for its members or not; if so, explain how, and if not, explain why not. Aim to present three main effects and whether each effect is positive or negative, one paragraph per effect.
First, explain the bare basics of what your paradigm is about to establish your topic clearly and directly. Launch into these basics in the very first sentence no set-up or hook.
Next, quickly sum up how people typically view the members of this paradigm. What is the traditional perception of the paradigm by outsiders?
Directly after that, briefly state whether that general perception is accurate or not, based on your analysis. This will help you pivot toward your thesis statement.
State a thesis. The thesis statement in this paper has two parts: one part to quickly summarize your analysis of the paradigm and a second part to mention three critique pointsthat is, your evaluation and opinion, negative or positive, of three aspects of the paradigm you are about to analyze.
BODY PART 1: ANALYSIS
Your analysis is meant to break down your paradigm into specific details in order to describe it and offer insights about its nature. You have considerable freedom in which specific areas of analysis to choose, so select which fit your topic and the ones for which you have sufficient information. Organize your analytical data into paragraphs where each paragraph focuses one particular aspect of your paradigm, aspects such as the following:
HISTORY of the paradigmits origin, background information
INSIDERS/ MEMBERS of the paradigmwho are these people exactly? What are they like psychologically (emotionally, intellectually, attitude, lifestyle) and in terms of their relationships (to other insiders and also to outsiders)?
GOALSboth superficial (the obvious ones everyone admits to) and deep and hidden (the less obvious ones that no one likes to talk about)
ASSUMPTIONS, EXPECTATIONS, and GENERAL THINKING within the paradigm. What ideas do the insiders take for granted? What do they expect to happen? What other forms of thinking or logic do you notice about this paradigm?
COMPARE and CONTRASTÂnote the similarities and especially the differences between this paradigm and any one or more related to it.
LANGUAGEÂinsider lingo, specialized terminology, words with unique meanings to members, insider talk, anything relating to how insiders communicate and articulate themselves within the paradigm.
Two things will make this analysis strong: details and insight. Details include vivid descriptiveness, specific details, and most important of all, examples. Insight means that you are including observations that are interesting and deep, ideas beyond the obvious and superficial, ideas that reflect thoughtful and deeper observation. If an outsider can guess what you’re saying, it is too obvious; if an outsider would be surprised to read what you are sharing, that’s a good sign you are being insightful.
BODY PART 2: CRITIQUE
The critique portion of your paper follows your analysis immediately, with no page break or subheading; the critique starts in the paragraph right after the last paragraph of your analysis, in other words.
You will present at least three different critique points, that is, specific opinions that you state about this paradigm. I do not want you to critique the truth or falsehood or the validity or absurdity of this social paradigm; I instead want you to address the paradigms effects on its members, whether practically (money, work, lifestyle, physical health) or psychologically (emotional well being, stress level, personal satisfaction, quality of relationships such as family, marriages, friendships). Separate your critique points into separate paragraphs. If you have more than three critique points, by all means include them.
You may also discuss positive or negative effects, whatever you think. Be sure to explain and support your opinion with reasons and examples. These paragraphs may be fewer than those in the analysis, but this critique is key to showing me your level of independent and critical thinking, so devote proper time and detail to your reasoning here.
If you present any negative critique points, offer proposals for reforming or correcting those problems. Explain why your proposal will make the paradigm better. If you present any positive critique points, offer ways in which these positive characteristics can be made even stronger.
Your paradigm MUST be approved by me. Any paper about any paradigm that I did not expressly approve of will receive no grade. The good news: If you post your choice for Discussion #5 and you either get a greenlight from me or no response, you’re all set. But if you don’t post this board and don’t email me your topic, that’s not approved and will hurt your essay grade dramatically.
Follow MLA guidelines for citing research, including a Works Cited page. Personal stories and experiences require no citing, but personal interviews need to include names and dates for the Works Cited page (if you wish to keep subjects anonymous, ask me how to proceed).
If your critique is positive overall, try to make your paper matter of fact and calm headed. Is easy to sound like an advertisement when describing a paradigm favorably.
If your critique is negative overall, try make the ideas of your paper speak of the problem rather than any emotionalism. Its normal to include personal experience and feelings, but if overdone, negative passion can make the essay seem like a rant rather than an educated opinion.
There is no minimum or maximum page length. It is likely, however, that your paper is longer in order to include all the details and examples it needs to be strong. If your essay is four pages or shorter, that is probably a red flag that you are not including enough detail.
Introduction to Social Paradigms
We move on with the course with an extended look at something that sidesteps philosophy altogether—superficially, anyway.
Up to now, everything we have looked at has followed very traditional philosophical assumptions: making clear claims; backing up claims with premises; making sure the premises logically connect to their claims.
But over the years of handling philosophical issues, from the practical (politics, ethics) to the abstract (identity, free will, religion), I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes when we debate ideas, it has nothing to do with premises or logic or philosophy at all.
Sometimes it’s culture. It’s culture that I now want to analyze critically with you with a concept known as the paradigm.
What Is a Paradigm?
First, the word “paradigm” is pronounced like “pair-uh-dime”(in its plural form, “paradigms,” it would sound like “pair o’ dimes,” as in 20 cents). That “g” in there is silent, so if you pronounce this “pair-uh-diggem,” you instantly sound like an ass. Please try not to sound like an ass (be one quietly, if possible).
I want to use the concept in its most broad, philosophical form—not the way it’s used in science so specifically nor in language. In its broad sense, then, Merriam-Webster online defines a “paradigm” as ” a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kind.”
The Oxford English Dictionary defines that same general, broad meaning as ” a mode of viewing the world which underlies the theories and methodology of science in a particular period of history.”
But both definitions are so vague and abstract, they’re almost useless. So let me break it down for you.
When a human being comes into the world, at least two big things affect their life: the people around them and the way they are taught to perceive the world.
If a baby were somehow able to keep herself alive, all by herself, on a desert island, she would be a very strange human being by the time she became 21 years old. Would she speak any language (and if so, would we understand it)? How would she dress? Behave? She would probably have strange personal habits she never questioned or thought about because there was no one around to MAKE her think about them or question them.
The rest of us in the real world, meanwhile, are born into groups of other people: family, friends, a community. We share space and resources. A family shares more than genes, but affection, communication, and traditions. And so a baby is really just one person of a larger group. This is normal, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, of course. This is how we learn a language, diet, fashion, personal habits, nearly all the outward ways we express ourselves.
This is, in essence, what culture is all about—the communal forces that shape our lives. Culture includes politics, religion, diet, holidays, art, language, fashion—you name it, it’s probably a piece of our culture.
If this seems painfully obvious to you, wonderful. Let’s add another easy observation to this talk of “culture”—cultures vary, often greatly, over time and space. What I mean by varying “over time” is that certain traditions and habits that a group practiced 100 years ago are very different today. They will probably keep changing till they’re different 100 years from now, too. This is a normal part of culture. Culture changes over time.
When people refer to “fads” or “trends,” this is pretty much what they mean. Something is hot or in style right now, but in a few years, watch its popularity go away fast and some strange new trend takes over.
But even during the same period of time, culture varies across space, too. Look at our world right at this moment. Southern California has a general culture very different from the culture in East Africa. Spain is different culturally from Mexico; South Korea is different culturally from China. Everything we associate with culture—diet, fashion, religion, language, etc.—varies from country to country, sometimes just a little, sometimes a lot.
When we say “cultural diversity,” it means something very close to this “cultures vary over space” concept.
So far, so good, I hope. Let me explain that second point I made about culture, though, that it teaches us how to perceive the world.
Culture so far has been very external, just outward appearances and differences—the way you look, the words you speak, and so on. But culture runs deeper than mere outward appearances; it affects how we see the world, how we think about it and what we value, what we pay attention to and what we ignore. Culture, in other words, has an internal, psychological component, too.
Religion is a good example. Religion is more than just how people follow their belief in a higher power; the different religions present often very different perceptions of the world itself.
The ancient Greeks thought the gods were very, very human. Their gods lied, slept around, got drunk, made mistakes, cried and bled and even died. This would seem very strange to a Christian who thinks of God as perfect or “all good.”
But this Greek religion didn’t just affect what they did but how they thought. If the gods and goddesses themselves were so fallible, human beings could be as good as the gods—and often were (as Greek myths and Greek literature confirm). The gods were more powerful than humans, but not necessarily better or more heroic. This gave Greeks more confidence in themselves, and they relied less on the gods (because the gods were often unreliable).
This is just one example of a million. It’s not just religion that affects our psychology, but our culture’s art, politics, occupations—almost everything.
And so culture is profoundly inward and psychological, too.
This is what the term “paradigm” is meant to capture. A paradigm is a model, a way of seeing the world, but this model comes to us from a particular culture. Because there are so many different cultures on the planet at the same time, and because cultures change over time, the concept of a “paradigm” is meant to capture the spirit that the point of view someone has—their model—is not necessarily the “right” one or “true” one. It’s just the way they happen to see the universe from their specific point of view.
A loose, quick way I like to define a “paradigm” is a “communal point of view.” Every individual has a singular point of view, but when a group forms with many individuals and the members of that group all agree on certain ideas and learn to see things like each other, the point of view becomes “communal.”
Remember cliques at your high school? I remember them well. There were the jocks, the nerds, the drama people, the band members, the Goths (emo nowadays, I guess), all sorts of cliques. They ate together during lunch, but always sort of packed together and apart from the other groups. Members of a clique often dressed similarly, had “inside jokes” and terms they all knew (but an outsider wouldn’t understand), had shared goals or expectations. It’s almost like the different cliques were existing in different schools than each other, they acted and saw things so differently.
From a cultural point of view, they were. This is the power of our culture. It’s not just what we do or say, but how we see the very world itself. Depending on what clique you belonged to in high school, your priorities were very different than your classmates. Was your main goal in high school getting high grades? Or getting dates and getting laid? Winning as many games as possible? Just trying to survive so you could graduate and never come back again?
I see this still in college. As your teacher, I have one point of view about education and my classes, but you? You all come into my classroom (or website, in this case) with completely different expectations, goals, and experiences.
And so to some of you, my brand of teaching seems very comfortable and familiar, while for others it’s so weird you may doubt my credibility. Some of you respect a professor the moment you meet one; others of you hate all teachers and resent them instantly. This all has very little to do with me personally (which helps me not take anything personally—neither insults nor praise). It has almost everything to do, instead, with your culture. To be specific, it relates to your paradigm expectations about English.
Paradigm Case Study: Different Paradigms in English
English is one of those staple subjects that many of you have been studying for years and years. You would think, then, that there would be much consensus and uniformity about what “English” means as an academic subject, both to professors and to students. But think again.
I don’t mean “English” as a language spoken. I mean “English” the academic subject, as in the class you are taking right now, English 1C. On our campus, we have an “American Language” department completely separate from the “English” department. Doesn’t that tell you a lot right away? “English” is not merely about learning how to speak or write English (if it were, we would all be “AMLA” teachers). It’s about something else.
So ask yourself:
1.) What is the purpose of a college-level English course? What are you supposed to be learning to do exactly?
2.) How does a teacher teach you English exactly?
3.) What is the sign of a good English student? A bad one? And how does a teacher know the difference?
4.) How do you see an English class differently from a non-English class (like math or science or foreign language)? How do you see your English homework or assignments differently from your non-English classes? How do you see your English teachers differently from your non-English teachers?
Now, a paradigm is by its very nature communal. Whenever a group of people share a point of view about something, a paradigm forms. In so forming, that groups shares their work, talks their talk, and conducts their business together as if THAT point of view is the “correct” one—when obviously there is more than one point of view.
English has a mixed, and therefore mixed up, history.
Like all “modern” college studies, English originates from the medieval seminary. All college in those times was focused on the main subject of reading and interpreting the Bible. Yes, the university existed well before the time the Christ, but not in the form you and I recognize. Plato’s Academy was informal, personal, conversational. The medieval seminary, like the modern classroom, is a different place—more rigid, structured, and strict.
College has not fully lost its history from medieval Bible studies. We still call college teachers “professors,” for example (when do you ever use the verb “profess” outside of a religious context?). Professors still stand behind lecterns delivering lectures (where else do you see that arrangement? In a church, of course).
Competing Schools of Thought
Modern English studies then take another, more 20th century turn.
Originally, English courses were thought to be part of a literature program, an association still common today. I am technically a “Professor of English and Literature,” not merely a “Professor of English” or “Professor of Composition,” for example, though the latter titles might be more accurate.
The idea was that English classes were meant to prepare students to read great works, like Shakespeare, novelists, poets. Students studied meter, poetic devices, story structure, characterization, and the nuances of language.
Many teachers still take this approach today, but far fewer than even 20 years ago.
Other teachers see English as what’s called a “skills” course—the goal is to teach students how to read and write. That may not involve literature at all, and the new shift become reading nonfiction issues and writing nonfiction papers covering the “rhetorical modes” (narration, cause and effect, compare and contrast, argumentation, definition). The very first English course I ever taught followed that structure, so I know it firsthand.
Problem: A literature-based English course focuses on very different things than a skills-based English course. The former is more poetic, personal, subtle, intellectual, as well as more unreal, “artsy fartsy,” and stale. The latter is more practical, formal, direct, as well as more basic, less complex, less “heady.”
Then came a newer trend (the one that got me hired)—the new emphasis on “critical thinking.” Regardless of literature and skills, students were to use their writing to think more philosophically and critically, to develop opinions, to defend their claims better, to explain their positions, to assess the strengths and flaws in others’ arguments. Readings became neither literary nor modern nonfiction but “classical” texts, like Socrates and Descartes. Assignments were not analyzing poems nor writing “cause and effect” papers but writing deeper, more sophisticated analyses of any number of the “great ideas” of philosophy.
Why this newfound emphasis on critical thinking? To combat the perceived “softness” of a trend among ex-hippies and liberals to base English on neither literature nor skills but “personal discovery.” Students sat in a circle, sharing their feelings in response to candid writings, writing journal entries, composing informal works in an effort to reflect and understand themselves better.
English studies remains divided among these camps. Literature-based English, skills-based English, critical thinking, personal discovery: All fall under “English,” but represent very different, competing schools of thought.
And you, the English student, have probably seen a little of them all.
Signs you’ve taken a literature-based English course:
- long works of fiction assigned throughout the course
- discussions and lecture on “symbolism” and “theme”
- essays are text-based, analyzing and interpreting the stories to find meaning
- the teacher may or may not have cried while reciting “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” in front of the class
Signs you’ve taken a skills-based English course:
- lots of talk of formal elements of structure, like “thesis statement,” “topic sentence,” “introduction,” “body,” and “conclusion”
- more emphasis on formatting and grammar than class discussion of ideas
- shorter readings, usually nonfiction, with shorter written assignments, usually graded very strictly on language use “correctness” and structural rigor
- your essays look severely marked over, usually in red, as if the teacher has OCD
- you got a high grade for doing it “right,” not doing it well. Right = no technical errors
Signs you’ve taken a critical thinking English course:
- many “issues” are debated in class, issues with no clear solution or resolution
- readings are either very opinionated or are older, classical works of philosophy
- essays are almost all arguments where you define a position and defend it logically
- the teacher spends more time commenting on your ideas than your actual writing itself, preferring overall remarks rather than specific minutiae
Signs you’ve taken a personal discovery English course:
- many personal essays (narrations, personal experiences, personal responses)
- journal entries
- open, loose class discussion where everyone speaks at least once and no one is right or wrong
- the teacher has a crystal pendant, hasn’t had a haircut in ten years, and hates to be called “professor” (they insist on being called by their first name)
Your experience in these English classes defined how you approached me and my class. You may very well have NEVER seen one of these types; you may have very well seen only ONE of these types.
The problem is confusion—are we sending mixed signals to our student writers? Do we grade on grammar or ideas, text usage or personal discovery?
Remember the A.W.E. you wrote—the one that placed you in your first English course when you first came to Mt. SAC? What were they looking for?
The answer: Everything. They wanted to see essay structure (intro, thesis, body, conclusion); proper grammar; strong ideas with proper defense; personal investment and a candid tone; a “theme” that reflected one unified message. In order to get placed directly into English 1A, you must essentially must know, and DO, it all.
Why so many things? To appease all the main camps within the English department. Our competing schools of thought created a test so challenging, many of you took one, maybe two (maybe three) more semesters of English than you NEEDED to.
That’s the power of paradigms. And English is just one case. We’ll look at many more before we are done.