Language Analysis – “Are Computers Compromising Education?”
In the letter “Are Computers Compromising Education?”, A. Jones, the principal of Hightower College, explains his reasons for banning the use of computers in classrooms, informing parents of the many issues that it would have imposed on students. Jones addresses the issue in a very reasoned but concerned tone, which gradually becomes more assertive as he attempts to completely convince parents to agree with his contention, that Australia’s “computer-based ‘education revolution’ represents a false promise to the Australian public”, as it inflicts a variety of health hazards on students and is preventing them from learning “the essential social and intellectual skills that they need to flourish in the adult world”. With a formal and carefully structured, yet at times quite emotive style of writing, Jones effectively uses a variety of persuasive language techniques to justify the rationality of his decision, and to make it clear to parents that the negatives of having laptops in classrooms “far outweigh the potential benefits”.
Jones appeals to the reader’s common sense through the use of seemingly logical statements, which make it seem as though his point of view is the only reasonable one, and that it should be obvious that students should not be allowed laptops in class due to the “obviously unhealthy” effects it has on not only their education, but their social lives as well. Also, in case his position as principal doesn’t give him enough credibility amongst the parents of his college, Jones appeals to the authority of Todd Oppenheimer, a leading social theorist in the US, who states that a computer-centred classroom means “downplaying the importance of conversation, of careful listening, and of expressing oneself in person”. This use of reliable evidence works with reason and logic to convince parents that Jones arguments are accurate and sensible, and that “students’ brains are becoming...
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