Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Alternative to the Research Paper

Note: The English Journal is celebrating 100 years of publication. In this particular article, today’s English teachers talk about an article from the Journal that caused them to act.

Name of article: “Just the FAQs: An Alternative to Teaching the Research Paper.” James Strickland (September 2004).

Teacher who read it and acted on it: Mary Buckelew, West Chester State University, West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Quote: “Jim [Strickland] wrote: ‘Instead of requiring students to write a paper in fifteen weeks that proves a thesis, we might better focus on teaching inquiry that is organic, developing, and changing as the researcher wonders and learns.’ Rather than come up with a thesis statement, students select a topic, identify an audience, and brainstorm questions that interest their audience and themselves. As student research the answers to their questions, they have the freedom to explore the side roads, to change direction, to find historic and theoretical sites that may inform their answers. Throughout, their awareness of their companion travelers (readers) is heightened.” P. 22.

Comment: I remember reading this article and being impressed with the idea. Of course, students also have to learn to format the research paper, including quotes and bibliography, etc. RayS.

Title: “An English Journal Article That Made a Difference: A Forum.” Compiled by D Zancanella. English Journal (January 2012), 19-26.

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