As empty as the narrative of progress seems, I wouldn’t believe a teacher who claims that they’ve never felt gratified by such statements. To witness, firsthand, students’ intellectual progress and play a small role in it.Coming from one of my students, those sentiments locate some idealistic node in my brain and make it buzz.“I hated academic writing when I started this class, but now I love it;” “My English classes before this one didn’t teach me nearly as much;” and my personal favorite, “Because of you, I finally understand why writing is important.” I’ve read variations of these sentiments in countless students’ portfolio letters: namely, that I’ve guided them from darkness into the light when it comes to writing and rhetoric.
After this first sentence, add your thesis statement.
The thesis clearly states what you hope to express in the essay.
I also don’t obfuscate what I want students to take away from that process, routinely discussing how they can use the analytical habits of mind required to examine the ways in which various writing modes function to successfully navigate unfamiliar rhetorical situations.
Emmons also argues that it’s important for students to critique the concepts and curriculum of a given class.
I’ve tried to train myself to also think about the garbage disposal aftertaste that lingers for days after I eat a Big Mac, as well as the specific way that burger drains energy instead of creating it.
It’s easier said than done, but I’m trying to train myself to see the narrative of progress in the same way.
Pushing students toward that type of reflection also entails a fruitful reflective process for teachers, pushing us to ask not only we should teach them about writing that will be useful beyond the scope of academia.
I’ve found myself thinking about that a lot: what I can teach composition students about reading and rhetoric that they can make use of inside and outside school. I’ve found particular success in dissecting several different modes of writing with my students, teaching them to recognize the rhetorical architecture of styles like the listicle, album review, think-piece, and, of course, academic essay.
Think about an issue that most people can relate to, such as: "Technology is changing our lives." Once you've selected your topic and thesis, it's time to create a roadmap for your essay that will guide you from the introduction to conclusion.
This map, called an outline, serves as a diagram for writing each paragraph of the essay, listing the three or four most important ideas that you want to convey.