Posts Tagged ‘Transition from five-paragraph essay


How to get relevant introductions from students

Since the dawn of time, writing teachers have had to deal with introductory paragraphs built around vague overgeneralizations that have little to do with anything in the rest of the essay. I have observed colleagues in coffee shops audibly groan when they read a paper starting with the phrase “throughout humankind.” While many instructors lament students’ attachments to the conventional thinking that states that introductions should start broad, others wave a flag of surrender, instructing students to forgo introductions entirely and just put the thesis in the first sentence. That approach ignores the values of a great introduction, which I can’t cover at this time.  (For the record though, it should be noted that putting an instructor in a good mood while grading a paper is a strategy not to be undervalued.)

What I can do here is show how to get relevant introductions from your students. And contrary to what some believe, teaching relevance has little to do with helping students calibrate the breadth of their opening sentence. Students are best served when they are forced to rethink their understanding of introductions, including what their purpose is and when they are best written. Continue reading ‘How to get relevant introductions from students’

Good Writer, Bad Writer

Good writer, bad writer reflects the philosophy behind the first writing lesson I attempt to teach students. Too many of them come into college believing that their writing abilities are set in stone. The bad writers continue to struggle, and the good writers don't take enough risks in their writing, figuring that any misstep will throw them back into the "bad writer" category.

Good writer, bad writer is my attempt to break the power of that dichotomy. On here, I share the lessons and attitudes that I teach, but I also talk about the attitudes I have towards my own writing since many of those have informed my own teaching. Thanks for visiting.

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