Tag Archives: well constructed

Rant vs well constructed argument

It’s day three of cleaning out my classroom (I’m starting a new job as an English Advisor with the Junior Cycle for Teachers service in 10 days time!) and I’m really really tempted to stop sorting the good from the bad and the ugly because it’s taking so bloody long!!! 87% of me wants to just fling the lot into boxes and be done with it.

But because we’re also moving into a new house – which we’ve been painstakingly renovating all summer – I don’t want loads of boxes of unnecessary crap cramping our new living quarters.

Anyway, as the clear out progresses, what’s surprised me is how often I’m stumbling upon half crumpled scraps of paper with hastily scribbed scrawls on them that I don’t want to keep necessarily, but which I don’t want to dump either…

Here’s one such example from a public speaking class. I’m pretty sure we just brainstormed this together (co-creation of knowledge how are ya!) rather than it being something I prepared in advance.


Rant =

  1. Collection of random thoughts with little order or structure
  2. Overwhelmingly negative
  3. Anger = dominant tone
  4. No balance
  5. No facts / statistics
  6. Examples given are all personal
  7. Flawed logic – one or two examples are used to draw big (erroneous) conclusions
  8. Ad hominem attacks – any attempts to refute other viewpoints consist of attacks on the people who hold these beliefs rather than on the beliefs themselves.

Argument =

  1. Structured
  2. Balanced
  3. Supported by facts / statistics
  4. Reasonable anger (if any) or disappointment rather than rage
  5. Personal examples situated in wider context
  6. Sound logic – inductive & deductive reasoning in evidence
  7. Refutation & rebuttal focused on the issues NOT personalities

Anyway, I figure such scraps of wisdom are better stored here rather than buried in the bottom of a box of other such random bits of paper. And it’s better than throwing them out too…