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1. Read the controversial article provided by your instructor. As you read, take note of the major themes and ideas in the article. Type up a short summary (3-5 sentences) of the articles most important points, whether or not you agree with the articles point of view, and why.

2. Next, play The Believing Game by re-reading the article, imagining that you believe everything that the author of the article has to say. (As Peter Elbow writes, Often we cannot see what’s good in someone else’s idea (or in our own!) till we work at believing it.) Try to remain open to the authors ideas without doubting the writers claims. Try to figure out how you would come to agree with the authors point of view. without doubting the writers claims, After re-reading the article, write a short summary (2-3 sentences) of the articles most important points, from the point of view of a reader who believes everything the author has to say. If you wish, identify further evidence or reasons why the authors ideas are correct.

3. Third, play The Doubting Game. Re-read the article again, but this time, look for flaws in logic, mistaken facts, ignored evidence, hidden or false assumptions, internal contradictions, etc. How would a person who completely doubts the authors position read this article? After re-reading as a doubter, write down all of the flaws, mistakes, errors, and false assumptions that you found. In other words, make a list of all the reasons why the authors ideas make no sense.

4. Finally, reflect back. Write a paragraph (3-5 sentences) explaining what you learned from doing this activity. Answer some or all of these questions:
-What did you learn about the authors ideas by reading as a believer and a doubter?
-How did your perspective on the article change?
-Do you feel differently now than you did when you first read the article?
-What did you learn about reading from doing this activity?
-What elements of this activity will you use in the future, and why?

 

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