Phd thesis help

Works Cited ERIC — 212 — Chapter Twenty-Three Getting Textual: Teaching Students to Proofread and Edit D onald Murray once said that the greatest compliment you can give a writer is to edit her or his text. I begin with this concept because, while this essay focuses on teaching students to proofread and edit, it should be understood from the beginning that students need to learn how to polish their prose within a rich understanding of the process of writing. There is, then, a fairly constant pressure on the writing teacher to emphasize cor- rectness. This essay is intended to help teachers focus this pres- sure in productive ways for their composition students. The practices I describe have been adapted from many sources, some within the field of composition, some from language arts and teacher education, and some from ESL classrooms. Over the last twenty years, I have used all of these with varying degrees of success, depending on individual students and contexts. In addition to my assumptions about the need to contextualize any instruction on language conventions, I should share a few other assumptions that guide me as a writing teacher and in writ- ing about proofreading and editing. First of all, as Joseph Will- iams (1981), Elaine Lees (1987), Bruce Horner (1992), Min-Zhan Brian Huot University of Louisville ERIC - 213 - SUPPORTING PRACTICES Lu (1994), Charles Coleman (1997), and many others have dem- onstrated, error in student writing is a complex issue. As Charles Coleman (1997) points out, it can be counter- productive to talk to students about sentence boundaries or subject-verb agreement if their grammatical orientations do not include those ways of working with language. My final impor- tant assumption is that teaching students grammatical structures outside the context of their own writing is pointless.

As Patrick Hartwell (1985) illustrated over fifteen years ago, there is no evi- dence that knowledge about grammar translates into the ability to write grammatically.

A more recent study by Ellen Barton, Ellen Halter, Nancy McGee, and Lisa McNeilley (1998) demon- strates that teachers themselves have trouble deciding what they mean by an awkward sentence, and while it is possible to read the conclusions of their study as recommending the teaching of some language structures, it is difficult to ascertain which struc- tures or how they should be taught. On the other hand, many students lack even the slightest ru- diments of a systematic approach to proofreading and editing. Ask most first-year college students what their system is for proof- reading and editing, and they will either look at you with a puzzled expression or they will say something about glancing over their work after they finish writing. I believe that one of the reasons many students do not edit and proofread very well is because they have had little formal instruction. On the upside, because students have so little experience and instruction in proofreading - 214 - ERiC 242 Getting Textual: Teaching Students to Proofread and Edit and editing, it is often possible to help them make big strides with a little real attention to learning how to proofread and edit their writing systematically.

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My reasoning is that activities involving an entire classroom may al- low many students to learn how to proofread and edit their texts. If certain students do not catch on, then an instructor can go on to more focused activities that require working specifically with particular students. Getting Textual Write It Out Many times students exhibit error in their writing because they have not written much prior to the months in which they enroll in a writing course. In my writing classes, I have students write regularly for three different purposes. One, students write responses (usually a half- page if typed) for each reading assignment. This kind of assign- ment encourages students to do their homework, and, unlike quizzes, responses give students much-needed practice in writ- ing. Two, students write a set number of pages in a journal each week. Three, students work on formal writing assignments that go through multiple drafts and peer review. I find that having students write so much in an introductory writing class often allows them to custom essay company write themselves out of many problems they may initially have with language conventions. A few years ago I taught a section of first-year writing in which three or four students -215 - 243 SUPPORTING PRACTICES who might normally have been placed into a developmental writ- ing course were slotted into my section with students who had been determined ready for first-year college writing. To this day, I am not sure who the mainstreamed students were, though if I had to guess, I would assume one of them was a student whose first few journal entries and reactions were especially weak in terms of language conventions.

By the end of the semester, how- ever, her work was indistinguishable from the writing of several other students in the course.

So the first thing I do to help students learn to proofread and edit is nothing at all, except provide them with an opportunity to practice their writing. I know this may sound like harebrained advice, and I certainly thought so the first time I heard it, but I have found over the years that it is a waste of time to pounce on errors students make early in the semester because there is a good possibility they will no longer make those errors if we have them write a lot and leave them alone. Responding with Correctness Joy Kreeft Peyton and Jana Staton (1993) were phd thesis help involved in a series of research studies of native and second-language users, supported by the Center for Applied Linguistics in the phd thesis help 1980s, in which they looked at dialogue journals, a procedure in which the teacher and student conduct a conversation on paper.

Oftentimes, students seem to pick up on the ap- propriate form and need no other help. Of course, this is not news for any of us who have worked with students whose phd thesis help texts appear much more problem- atic than their readings of their texts. Years ago, when I worked at an open admissions school and taught basic writing and pre- basic writing classes, it was not uncommon for me to have an entire class of students whose ACT verbal scores were in the single digits.

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