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Thursday, May 03, 2012


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Techniques like Content-Purpose-Audience, and learning how to properly research a topic helped me get through the last two years of high school, the ACE Plus program and finally University, by guiding what and how I wrote each and every assignment. Even today, I still use the techniques far more informally when writing cover letters and personalizing my resume for a job application. Even while writing emails from work, it is important to know who you are writing to/for, what you are writing about,etc...

Your posts remind me of the time I finally began to enjoy attending school and to challenge myself. I was reluctant and angry to be in a different city, and in a school that seemed so indifferent to education levels. So I let my focus and eagerness to learn fade away. Even if it sounds cliche, I must admit that I had given up all hope on reading, writing and education all together before taking your class.

You reminded me of the love I bore for reading, and I will be forever grateful to you for that. I may have rediscovered my passion too late to pursue it, but it will forever be a part of me. Thank you for inspiring me to do better and I am glad you continue to guide others!


I LOVE this strategy for EVERY type of writing, even personal narratives! It give ALL writing purpose! I have found it keeps their personal narratives focused and gives all of them a touch of persuasion, which we all know all writing has purpose! With research and persuasive writing I use the "Questions" box for the Yea buts...yea but what about... It forces them to think about even more deeply about their audience and finding evidence to truly be persuasive.

I LOVE the Main Idea box to help them build their introduction and the Think / Do boxes to build their conclusions. When writing we start in those to boxes because those are the hardest part of writing for most students - then I tell them, "Hey! You have the hardest parts done...now go forth and create!"

Cindy Tekobbe

To your point about audience and students having little (if any) experience with writing to an audience other than their teachers, I think one of the difficulties in teaching solid research strategies and research writing practices to students is that as academics, research is so native to us that a lot of the pre-steps you outline are invisible to us. I know who the audiences of various journals are and I know many of the other academics whose work mine engages. And, I've committed any number of years to my work. So the beginning steps of *what* I should write about, *why* I should write about it, and the audience my work might be important to isn't something I have to think consciously about. And if I'm not careful and reflective when I design my syllabus, it's too easy to start the teaching process at research methods because, honestly, this is the discipline students seem to complain the most about, it's where they can get into a lot of trouble, and, at cursory glance, it's the area where they're either weakest or where they invest the least effort. But actually, a lot of weakness in their research methods can be traced back to weakness in the project design. If they're not clear on what they're investigating, for what purpose and audience, students are absolutely going to flounder when they get to the library (or they're going to settle less credible sources because those tend to be more cursory reflecting the students' shallow grasp of the project). So, I really like this CPA worksheet because it presents a practical and organized framework for students to begin that all-too-critical pre-writing work with which they're often unfamiliar, and which we often as teachers fail to spend enough time on because we think they understand it better than they do given it's so natural to us.

Jean Kilker

Several of the subscription databases created for high school give excellent guidance and practice so that students learn to narrow or focus their topic and how to organize their topic. The Pro/Con databases give examples of structure for their paper. Students use critical thinking skills to define their purpose and audience after reading about both sides of an issue.

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