Friday, May 7, 2010

What I'm Learning From Reading -- Part 1

I'm smack in the middle of editing and scoring 60 community college critical thinking papers (hence the bloglessness), that are, for the most part, pretty decent.

The topic isn't an easy one, especially for conservative Medford, Oregon: "How have the events of 9/11 shaped or shifted the U.S. perspective on Muslims?"

Yet, the papers--the first of the term--are sophisticated in sentence structure, with questions, semi-colons, participial phrases.

College-level word choice is used.

Usually content is a problem: putting in what's relevant, and keeping out what's not. Hard to do in 5 pages. But it seems less so this time.

Because it's APA, there's an abstract, and a reference page.

It's all definitely not something a student can whip up in an hour.

Most papers are either B-s or Fs.

Here's what's going well: leading into and away from citations, using transitional phrases, integrating implications and interesting introductions, titling the person quoted.

Militant Islam is distinguished from Islam itself.

Conclusions include calls-to-action of examination, understanding, and education.

The pitfalls are what they usually are: connecting introduction to the body, achieving length, citing properly, tightening conclusions.

I try to head off those issues in class, but they seem hard to overcome.

In all, I learn from these. How to be a better teacher. How to be a better writer. How to be a better person.

Most students will put about 10 hours of work into writing these papers.

Between the planning, the prep, the instruction, the grading, me, I'll put in about 60.

3 comments:

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oh, how I feel your pain. The four days I was gone were spent scoring several hundred 7th and 8th grade expository essay assessments. Very interesting, I assure you. For example... If you are exposed to radiation, you could develop "cycle cell enemas". LOL!

Happy Mother's Day, friend, and have a great weekend! :-)

Wendy aka Quillfeather. said...

I've left you a little something on my blog. Hope that cheers you up :)

anjie said...

I just tagged you with the same tag KJR tagged ya with. Muahahaha... (Hi KJR!)