Today's lesson was very conceptual in nature. Next week he'll write a reaction paper regarding the ideas listed on our collaborative "brainstorming"ù document about concepts of writing, learning, and the different methods in high school and college. I made an executive effort to change our agenda today, and the student was flexible. I reiterated, however, he has full authority to tell me what he needs, and I'll adapt accordingly. Adaptability through critical thinking and practice with writing is one of the concepts discussed. After we agreed to shift into transition from secondary skills to upcoming higher educational skills needed, it seemed best to de-emphasize the definition of terms, and rather emphasize why they're used, and to in turn use them. Resources allow the student in college to spend her/his time on honing critical thought: close reading of the text, comprehension of the text (word definition, grammar construction, identifying style, argument, tone of text), analysis/assessment of text (why is it structured as it is? How is the author laying out her/his argument, or achieving her/his tone, do you agree or disagree with her/his argument? How is the argument substantiated? etc.) which informs the student when they have to create an argumentative essay. I also stressed the importance of revision in college essay-writing. A first draft is the beginning. The real work begins in applying these critical skills to one's own writing: see where it's working, where it's not, how to fix it, and allow the possibility that the strongest argument may be a discovery made on the last page, and re-structure the essay accordingly. We also began investigating how to use the varying methods of professors to the benefit of a facile writing method, to eventually find one's own method that is adjustable to external factors. I mentioned this is true in professional life as well, since each company and editor has their own style they wish their writers to work within. In other words, thinking about "how"ù one writes, leads to better practice of writing. The ability to adjust tone and style is particularly relevant today, as more and more forms of written communication are becoming ubiquitous: blogs, emails, articles, academic writing, OpEds, texts, etc. We finally decided to take a step back from this theoretical work, and practice next week. Despite me throwing out a lot of ideas, he was himself adaptable in listening, and I appreciated his presence and concentration. I look forward to more of his writing.
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