Paraphrasing matters

Some were even surprised by their ability to write about a topic that only several weeks before appeared unfamil- iar. My encouragement to use personal experiences in learning probably helped many students become interested in the reading and the writing for the class. The approach to reading and writing I used in my course aimed at achieving several goals. I wanted to help the students see that new knowledge does not appear out of a vacuum but is usually based on existing knowledge. I also wanted them to be- come better readers by bringing their views of the world into their interpretations of texts. Finally, I wanted them to treat writ- ing not merely as a way to transmit information but also as a means of generating new knowledge. The next time I teach ENC-1145, I would like to take a broader approach, calling the course Writing about Culture and Identity. I want the class to look at how our environments and communities shape our lives and ideals, without necessarily fo- cusing on one culture only. I expect students to generate many descriptions and evalu- ations of cultures, subcultures, and societies they call their own. Next time I teach this course, I will also be sure to emphasize continually to the students that this is first and foremost a writ- ing class and not a course in history or sociology. The Curious Researcher: A Guide paraphrasing matters to Writing Research Papers. Reading as Rhetorical Invention: Knowledge, Per- suasion, and the Teaching of Research-Based Writing. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English. The Presence of Others: Voices and Images That Call for Response.

While most of the students are traditional in terms of age, a high percentage consists of older, returning students.

The course I pri- marily teach — English 2400: Advanced Composition — fulfills a university-wide third writing course requirement and is paraphrasing matters one of four choices offered by the English department. Other choices include Critical Approaches to Literature, Technical Writing, and Modern Familiar Essay. Because most of the other colleges on campus also offer advanced writing courses related to their ma- jors, Advanced Composition usually attracts arts and sciences majors who choose this course over the other three, perhaps be- cause it provides the most direct extension of their first-year com- position courses. English Composition 1150 and English Composi- tion 1160 — the courses that fulfill the first two writing require- - 31 - 62 COURSE DESIGN ments for all majors — focus on narrative and investigative writ- ing, respectively. My Approach In my sections of Advanced Composition, students learn to focus on all of the composition course elements by writing four per- sonal but researched essays that they then compile in their final projects as bound autobiographies.

Students generally enjoy English 1150 because it involves personal-based writing, but some feel stifled by the guidelines.

In other words, students in this first writing course usually feel com- fortable with the subject matter, but they find it difficult to ex- press themselves within the rules and expectations of the assigned modes such as narration, observation, and description.

Students of English 1160, the second writing course, typically enjoy learn- ing new strategies of investigation, but they too often struggle with paraphrasing matters the artificiality of not only imposed modes such as persua- sion paraphrasing matters and evaluation but also the subject matter of traditional aca- demic research papers.

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I designed Advanced Composition to encompass the best of both courses — personal subject matter and investigation — while focusing more on personal style. Although my assignments all have certain parameters, they allow for what nearly all of my first-year students crave: free- dom. I designed the class, therefore, not to teach students how to conform to a certain style but to encourage them to develop a style that works for them when composing nonfiction. I encour- age them to experiment with everything from point of view to visual aids. In addition, I promote the kinds of research that do - 32 - Autobiography in Advanced Composition not necessarily take place in a library, such as digging through the family files or talking with a relative over coffee. As a result, what I initially imagined as a course driven by narrative writing with some research included has grown into one that produces fascinating and original multimedia autobiographies by each stu- dent. The four formal writing assignments are as follows: Heritage: Describe your family ancestry as it is in some way rel- evant to your life today.

Consider how your background has shaped or influenced you.

Family: Extend a metaphor to describe your family and the roles that each member plays.

In order custom essay online depth, discuss the roles and what it means to fill them. Mentor: Select someone who has had a positive impact on your life and write an essay explaining the significance. Use a popular text of some sort (a poem, a song, a movie, etc. These assignments serve merely as springboards from which the writers may dive. Although I do hope to see students, for in- stance, speak of their families metaphorically, I i need help doing a research paper neither offer nor expect any particular format or page length. Given these relatively loose parameters, my approach to the teaching of each assignment relies heavily on workshop activities rather than lecture. Since I do not rely on textbooklike writing conventions, such as the principles of argu- mentation, to teach style and technique, I run the course essen- tially as a workshop in which students learn by trial and error with my help and that of one another. All along the way, we share our ideas and our writing, providing praise, suggestions, and constructive criticism. This writing process, which I describe in detail in the follow- ing paragraphs, works well with students because it capitalizes more on their intellect and common sense than on their ability to memorize or follow rules. As a result, students seem to become personally invested in the tasks of the course, engaging themselves COURSE DESIGN more than they might with more traditional or textbook exer- cises. Fortunately, the personal subject matter and relative paraphrasing matters freedom afforded to them creates engaged and productive participation practically without fail. After I introduce the general parameters of the assignment, as a class we analyze several finished versions of the assignment essay from previous classes. I present essays with the widest avail- able range of styles and formats on overhead transparencies and invite the class to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each one.

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