Rhetorical Analysis: "Against School"

Topics: High school, Teacher, Education Pages: 3 (890 words) Published: November 15, 2011
Rhetorical Analysis: "Against School"
In the essay, Against School, John Taylor Gatto, expresses his strong belief in middle diction of how students in the typical public schooling system are conformed to low-standard education in order to benefit the society much more than the student themselves; causing schooling to be unnecessary as opposed to education . He believes that children and teachers are caught in extreme boredom as a result of repeated material. This boredom also causes a lack of maturity and independence in the students. Gatto wrote this essay in 2003 which appeared in Harper’s magazine. He gathered these observations during his 30 years of teaching in the best and worst schools of New York City. In 1991, he was named the New York City Teacher of the Year and later on New York State Teacher of the Year. He has written many publications on his experience with being an educator including Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling (1992) and The Underground History of American Education (2001). This essay was most likely written to inform any American reader (student, parent, and teacher) of the reality of our modern schooling, based on Gatto’s use of modes of development and formal diction.

Gatto used personal anecdotes as a mode of development throughout his essay to convey the point of schooling being unnecessary. He started out explaining how in his teaching years, he would often have students complaining about being bored and the work they were forced to do. The students also explained to him how teachers were bored and disinterested with the material they were teaching. Gatto then went on to explain that we are all to blame. “My grandfather taught me that…when I was seven I complained to him of boredom… He told me that I was never to use that term…, that if I was bored it was my fault and no one else’s” (Gatto 148). He then taught the same thing to his students, however he realized that boredom naturally caused...
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