Sunday, September 22, 2013

Your assignment was not to "just write an essay"

As I thought about where I got my diversified understanding of academic writing, I was taken to my AP English teacher during my senior year of High School. She inspired in me a desire to read more and develop a love for the language. As I read different novels and essays, I began noticing differences in the writing. I did not, however, know why or what the differences were. Now, I jump forward to my English 2010 class down at the U of U. My instructor was a TA, and we were explicitly told we would be writing different types of compositions. We did an annotated bibliography, an expository piece, a research paper, and a few minor writing assignments. That was when I understood that writing was never just writing. There was always some format or purpose. As I went through my coursework at WSU, I discovered that the nuances of each style of writing were a little more intuitive. I was able to see the differences more clearly once I had studied a bit and realized that there were differences. This is invaluable as a tutor. Often times I'll ask a student what their assignment was, to which they reply "I don't know. I was just supposed to write an essay." I can now ask leading questions to discover what kind of "essay" they were to write.


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