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Oct. 30th, 2006 | 03:13 am
mood: irritatedirritated


My world humanities teacher is making us sort of workshop each other's papers. Edit, then write up a comment sheet. I finally finished with four papers, and I'm just about ready to cry. These are all honor students, so I just find it way too hard to cut 'em slack. I can cut the kids that I tutor slack for any number of reasons, but it's harder with my classmates. Though I really should, because it's the same for the honors kids. ESL students, and even native speakers, who've never been taught to write. My own brother is a terrible writer. It doesn't help that schools don't teach grammar. It's just frustrating.


Learned today that my teacher will let us do a rewrite, and give us enough time to incorporate her comments/critiques/suggestions. This makes the assignement slightly less pointless.


Instead of a full rant, you get:

1) Do what the professor wants. Is there leeway when it's a question/answer type thing? Probably. Is there leeway when the professor says that you have to go somewhere or use a specific source? Not really.
2) A thesis/central idea is not optional. Your essay has to be about something.
3) Some of the ideas in the essay have to be your own. It can't all be summation.
4) Organization is very important. Your paper has to explore/prove your central idea, and to do that, it can't be all over the place. Think of a debate if you must, just keep things tight.
5) Sentence structure is another big one, run ons are evil because you're trying to cram so many things into one sentence that you lose track of what the sentence is really about, see not a very nice sentence to read. Keep things short and clean.
6) Intros have to be in proportion to the rest of the essay. You can't have a three page intro for a five page essay. Same with conclusions, this just tends to be more of an issue with intros.
7) Only put in info that's relevant. If Newton's not important, don't throw in a life history of Newton. Only sum up what's relevant. If chapter 6 isn't important to your main point, don't sum it up.
8) Know the text/info. Do not use the wrong theory, date, event, etc. It looks sloppy.
9) Tell the reader where you're getting things from. This means cite, explain, develop. It's an academic essay, so I need to know where you're pulling things from.
10)To get above a C, pay attention to the rest. Diction and SPaG start becoming important, as does the quality of your ideas, the level at which you support it at, etc.

Questions/comments/rants about how I got it all wrong?


Still have a coding assignment to do, and have to finish up the world humanities one. (At least I finished the prep work on the world one.) I wanna sleep. Though this is really just cause I was irresponsible and actually went out and had fun yesterday. Went to the Halloween Party put together by nyc_hpslashers. Today I went to a youth group thing for a few hours, so that also ate my time. School and life outside of school don't really want to balance.
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linky | Leave a comment |

Comments {12}

She Who Writes

(no subject)

from: petitecrivan
date: Oct. 30th, 2006 07:31 am (UTC)
linky

...honors students you say?

*headdesk*

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Story

(no subject)

from: story645
date: Oct. 30th, 2006 08:28 am (UTC)
linky

Yeps, honors students. I was ranting to one of the directors of the honors program about this. I blame high schools that don't have any real standards, and the fact that college essays aren't formal academic ones.

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dome36

(no subject)

from: dome36
date: Oct. 30th, 2006 07:58 am (UTC)
linky

Chana

That is a very complicated work you have in your hands.

And I agree: it is not easy to achieve a very good level when it comes to writing. It is in fact quite difficult. I can speak for myself!

Dome

P.S. Probably when you will read these lines I will be already in the Big Apple :)

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kit_the_brave

(no subject)

from: kit_the_brave
date: Oct. 30th, 2006 01:35 pm (UTC)
linky

Boy, you're right about both the general writing level in college and about what it takes to fix it. Re: #6 - I think this happens when people aren't sure what to write, so they wander around for a while before they settle on something. Which would be fine if they then went back and took all the wandering out, but they don't. When writing is hard, it can feel really tough to have to take out anything that you've accomplished.

And yeah, it's not really fair not to be able to turn in a revised paper after all this!

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Story

(no subject)

from: story645
date: Oct. 30th, 2006 04:18 pm (UTC)
linky

Must edit cause today she said that we could revise.

I think that 6 also happens when people get all freaked about paper length. Must have 4 pages, so lets throw thngs in. I know that cutting is hard, but it's necessary.

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stmargarets

(no subject)

from: stmargarets
date: Oct. 30th, 2006 01:45 pm (UTC)
linky

Wow, sounds like your teacher is abdicating a few duties. Part of grading papers is learning what the class knows/needs to work on and then providing that (and no re-writes! Sheesh!)

I think all of your comments sound fine - just take "you" out of your remarks - say "this paragraph needs a citation," "a clearer thesis statement is needed here." That sort of thing. It's less personal. Good luck!

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Story

(no subject)

from: story645
date: Oct. 30th, 2006 04:14 pm (UTC)
linky

I didn't throw you into my real comments. Just into my rant. Though I found out today that she's letting us rewrite after we get back her comments.

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(no subject)

from: kerosinkanister
date: Oct. 30th, 2006 07:42 pm (UTC)
linky

10)To get above a C, pay attention to the rest. Diction and SPaG start becoming important, as does the quality of your ideas, the level at which you support it at, etc.

All too often good writing is hindered by poor SPaG. You see it in fanfic, technical writing, essays, etc., stuff like confusing lose/loose, there/their/they're. It's easy enough to fix and more than one or two can drop an essay's grade. The worst are actual spelling errors. Does anyone use a word-processor without spell-check these days?

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Story

(no subject)

from: story645
date: Oct. 31st, 2006 04:23 am (UTC)
linky

Spell check won't catch homonyms, which is one of those mistakes that I always make without meaning to. Yeah, SPaG is annoying cause it probably makes the teacher feel like the student treated the assignement as a one off/not worth polishing type of thing.

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dome36

(no subject)

from: dome36
date: Oct. 31st, 2006 01:59 pm (UTC)
linky

Hi Chana!

I am in NY!

Do you think that it will be possible for us to have a coffee together?

I will wait for some news!

Dome

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Story

(no subject)

from: story645
date: Oct. 31st, 2006 04:31 pm (UTC)
linky

Yeah, sorry, been meaning to figure something out.

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dome36

(no subject)

from: dome36
date: Oct. 31st, 2006 04:35 pm (UTC)
linky

Don't worry!

Like I said Thursday it will be wonderful, since I am going to be at Columbia first part of the morning.

But just look at your schedule and see if it is possible. No problem!

Dome

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