COM103 – Discourse: Critique and Evaluation

My first Thursday class started off just fine. I learnt that most students just started their first year of studies. For many, it was their first class too and I am glad that they took COM103. This module is too critical to pass up and too important to leave for one’s later years.

The concepts: Pathos, Ethos and Logos will be key in understanding and dissecting statements and arguments. I learnt of these concepts through general reading and in COM101 last year. Occasionally, I struggle to remember their definitions. So, I developed the following:

  1. Logos: Logic and Reason. “L” for “Logic”.
  2. Ethos: Credibility and Authority. Pronounce the “e” in “Credibility” and “Ethos” the same way.
  3. Pathos: Emotion and Feelings. Pathological behaviour.

If Ethos is defined as Emotion instead, it would be easier on the brain. But, that is just me.

Now, I learn that good arguments require solid foundations. The house analogy makes great sense. The foundation, or base, is the issue being put forth. Logic and reason as structural beams prop up the roof (Conclusion). Beneath the foundation lies implicit assumptions.

Faulty assumptions weaken the base. Without solid beams, the roof is subject to ingress and crumbles under scrutiny; The house cannot stand.

Observations from COM103 – T02

In responding to the tutor’s questions in class, two classmates and I got barred from participating. This was not new to me as I have been barred in other classes from contributing. This is a common behaviour that I observed not only in my time as a Notetaker, but also as an SUSS student.

When discussing such phenomena, many tell me that Singaporean students clam up in class. Whether for fear of giving a wrong answer, looking stupid or for various reasons, I want to tell everyone that it is okay to speak up in class. It is okay to make mistakes too since everyone gets to learn and we are all the wiser for it.

On the flip side, there are students who give unnecessarily long winded answers and end up meandering. I have seen lecturers cut in and correct them. This tells me one thing: It is possible to respond, stray and give an unrelated answer. Tutors will call you out on it.

While it is nice to hear different voices in class, it is challenging to move the class at a steady pace without experiencing deafening silence the instance a question is posed.

I find it interesting that my main takeaway for a Communication module is for students to speak up and contribute. Mind you, this is a module where students are expected to argue and do so in a coherent manner.