Monday, March 5, 2007

English Update March 5, 2007

Writing Research What is the most significant problem in teaching the research paper? “One of the problems with a traditional research paper has been the wedding…of inquiry-based research with thesis-driven persuasive writing.” J Strickland. EJ (Sept. 04), 23.

Writing Research What is the role of footnoting in the modern research paper? An agonizing review of the complexities of footnoting and the new edition of The Chicago Manual of Style. [How do modern writers organize their material? The author, who is a regular book reviewer for The New Yorker, has a curious method of organizing his material. He most definitely does not use the “Tell them…” approach to organizing. In this review, he begins with an agonizingly vivid retelling of his experience of typing footnotes on a typewriter, launches into a diatribe against Word for Windows and finishes with his description of the frustrations that await users of the new edition of The Chicago Manual of Style.] L Menand. NYER (Oct. 6, 03), 120-126. [File.]

Writing Research What are some alternatives to the traditional research paper? Students do research but use different genres in reporting on that research. J Conrad. CN+ (Aug. 04), 8-10.

Writing Responding In what ways can teachers respond to student writing? 7 methods of responding to student writing: correcting, emoting, describing, questioning, reminding, suggesting, assigning [another paper based on what the student has written]. EO Lees. CCC (Dec. 79), 370-374. Use questions in responding to students’ papers. L Odell, 1976. CCC (May 77), 189. Give student writers positive encouragement in what they are doing well. EF Haynes in RL Larson. CCC (May 79), 203.

Literature Response What is our goal in helping students respond to literature? With an emphasis on learning with and from students, we chart the evolution of [the teacher’s] thinking as she moves from viewing literature response as acquiring answers to seeing it as asking and pursuing questions. J Damico & RL Riddle. LA (Sept. 04), 36-37.

Literature Interpretation How help students interpret literature? Six categories of questions to ask about a piece of literature: understanding an author’s use of words; understanding an author’s use of figurative language; recognizing traits of character; recognizing tone; recognizing an author’s theme or themes; recognizing development of the theme. W Pauk. JR (May 72), 674.

Reading Response How increase students’ interest in reading? Go to any member of your family and ask her or him for a book worth reading. Take 20 minutes, adapt your reading rate to methodically skim its pages and then engage the book’s owner in a meaningful conversation. R Wolpow. JAAL (Sept. 04), 9.

Writing Response How prepare students for peer review? Teachers need to model how to respond to students’ writing in order for their students to respond effectively to other students’ writing. R VanDeWeghe. EJ (Sept. 04), 95-99.

Writing Response How can the teacher become a real audience for student writers? The teacher emphasizes that he is a “dumb reader.” Make your writing so clear that even a dumb reader like me will understand it. W Gibson. CCC (May 79), 192-195.

Writing Revision What are student assumptions about writing? …since very few of our students understand how writers behave, they may initially resent the assignment to write multiple drafts because they believe that good writers get things right the first time. EP Maimon. CCC (Dec. 79), 367.

Writing Revision What are the characteristics of good writers? “The ability to reflect on what is being written seems to be the essence of the difference between able and not-so-able writers, from their initial writing experience onward.” [Teach students the habit of reflecting on their writing.] S Pianko. CCC (Oct. 79), 277.

Writing Revision What is meant by revising? Students have been so intimidated in their grade-school classrooms by Mrs. Grundy’s standards of neatness that they may interpret our assignments to revise as requests merely to recopy an original to improve the appearance on the page. EP Maimon. CCC (Dec. 79), 367. Give students copies of our own first drafts with revisions so that they can visualize the process of revision. EP Maimon. CCC (Dec. 79), 367. …identifies two kinds of revision: external revision (preparing the writing for a reader) and internal revision (discovering meaning, structure, preferred word choices, voice in what one has written). DM Murray in RL Larson. CCC (May 79), 208. Revision is usually equated with cleanliness; to revise is to groom, to polish, to order, and to tidy-up one’s writing. The message communicated to students is that revision is the act of cleaning prose of all its linguistic litter. NI Sommers. CCC (Feb. 79), 48. [I define the use of a knowledge of grammar in editing as the process of polishing prose. I define revision as adding, deleting, substituting and moving words, phrases, clauses, sentences and paragraphs.] The use of such temporal phrases as ‘the final aspect of the composing process is revision…’ or ‘after a writer writes, he revises…’ equate revision with an activity that is separate in quality and isolated in time from writing. NI Sommers. CCC (Feb. 79), 48. [In my sequence of the writing process, students, once they have defined their thesis sentence, complete a quick first draft that is then revised and edited. I consider it important to put down a first draft right to the summarizing paragraph—a first draft that is then reworked. Sommers seems to envision a process that begins at the beginning with the introductory material and works steadily through the thesis, the middle paragraphs and the final summarizing paragraph, revising and editing as she goes. That’s not the way I write, but I can understand that once people understand the structure of expository writing, they might prefer to write in that way.]

EJ = English Journal. NYER = The New Yorker. CN+ = Classroom Notes Plus. CCC = College Composition and Communication. LA = Language Arts. JR = Journal of Reading. JAAL = Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy.

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