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    Gonna Take a Bureaucratic Journey.

    red_tape.jpgQuote:  “The College Board recognizes that there are many paths towards becoming an effective AP teacher.”  The College Board.

    Figure of Speechcommonplace, the logical building block.

    Advanced Placement teachers have until June to get their course syllabi approved by the College Board, the group that administers the AP exams.  The audit is supposed to weed out mere honors courses that have taken on the “AP” label for the added prestige.

    The move hasn’t thrilled teachers (to coin a litotes).  To allay fears that the the audit will dictate the way teachers teach, the Board employs a commonplace — a belief or desire shared by the audience.

    Our culture’s rhetorical amnesia makes us consider a commonplace a cliché, but it’s much more than that.  To persuade people, you must start with your audience’s position — its commonplace.  Use  it to make a decision or action seem reasonable or to enhance your rhetorical character.  In this case, the College board takes teachers’ desire for independence, along with your average teacher’s love of path-and-journey metaphors.   The testing behemoth morphs into  a soothing hand-holder.

    Snappy Answer:  “And filling out forms isn’t one of them.”

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