The above clip features psychology Professor Kevin Nadal (he also does stand-up - talk about renaissance man). I like how Nadal illustrates Filipino American psychological phenomena using humor. I use his text book Filipino American Psychology in a composition class I teach. Why? For one, the class is part of a Filipino American Learning Community, so the subject matter is right on time. Secondly, the book features rhetorical modes typically found in college textbooks. And one of the big lessons I hope to teach is how to recognize and replicate those types of writing.
By "rhetorical modes", I mean the patterns of paragraph organization, i.e., the way writers build paragraphs to support a particular point. Pattern and structure implies putting particular elements in a certain place. Generally, an expository paper for college includes a topic sentence that states the writer's point, followed support, and ending with a conclusion. We use the acronym AXES to name those elements:Both paragraphs feature different content, yet they each follow a similar structural pattern: AXES. Nadal generated different ideas supported by evidence. And he followed a particular form - a standard pattern. His explanations, and commentary to make clear how those examples support his assertion.
Below are two paragraphs from Nadal's book to demonstrate one of those patterns: illustration, the rhetorical mode that makes a point by using examples, also known as exemplification. These paragraphs also exemplify the AXES model. I marked where each element begins.S: Significance, the "so what" of the paragraph.
As I writer, I'm free to emulate ("bite") different writers' structures and patterns of organization - that's not considered plagiarism or copying. I just have to be sure that the content I include (the ideas, the particular examples) are my own. Here's a helpful page from Thurgood Marshall College at UCSD that provides more information on AXES paragraphs.
Reference: Nadal, Kevin. Filipino American Psychology: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice. Wiley, 2011.