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I wish they’d taught me that!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Image by Lichfield Live on Flickr

This week, I’m preparing for my first stint as an adjunct instructor teaching a Freshman Comp class which starts Saturday. While the lessons and major assignments are already planned for me, I do still have some autonomy with what I teach these students. So I thought I’d put it to my blog readers today . . .

What do you wish you’d been taught about writing in school?

Now, this mostly pertains to academic writing—research papers, reports, essays, etc.—but you can answer that question about whatever kind of writing you want to focus on.

9 Comments
  1. Monday, September 17, 2012 11:47 am

    I wish I had been taught that academic writing can be fun and engaging.

  2. Audry permalink
    Monday, September 17, 2012 12:04 pm

    I don’t know that I feel my writing instruction was lacking, but one thing that I think many students are not taught and for some reason don’t figure out on their own is the appropriate use of transitions, between arguments in a research paper, or supporting points in an argumentative essay, for example. I’ve seen more papers than I can count that will go from one thought to another without eve linking them together into a coherent whole.

    • Monday, September 17, 2012 9:54 pm

      This goes for fiction writing to a degree, too. =)

  3. carolee888 permalink
    Monday, September 17, 2012 12:06 pm

    Go ahead and write. Write about what you love.

  4. Monday, September 17, 2012 12:13 pm

    I wish I’d been taught to draw comparisons between yourself and all the characters, that we’re all not so different from each other.

  5. Dora permalink
    Monday, September 17, 2012 2:25 pm

    I wish I had been taught how to finish a thought and move on to the next logical topic. I agree with the lack of transition. As I begin more stream of conscious, clear instruction on transition would have been helpful, along with clear instructions for ordering.

  6. Monday, September 17, 2012 3:21 pm

    The importance of writing a draft copy first of what the report etc needs to cover then to fill in the info. after the draft copy is done use it to build the report. I know at school we were taught to do a draft copy but often it was more complete than it needed to be.
    With learning to write reports I found having a rough draft where i could work out what was required to build the first copy and then finally the final copy really helped. Also in the subject on report writing we had to hand up the draft, first copy and final copy so the lecturer could see we grasped the concept.

  7. Mom permalink
    Monday, September 17, 2012 3:40 pm

    I get the products of freshman comp classes. I’m pretty forgiving of writing on a test since it is generally short (1 paragraph) and written under stress. But discussion boards require two paragraphs reporting on their nutrition topic plus one paragraph explaining why they chose this topic. Here are the two things I most wish they could do:

    1. Explain in conversational voice what they have read without copying or nearly copying – I don’t allow this even with a reference. Changing a word or two is not sufficient. It is still plagiarism.

    2. Reread what you have written and EDIT it. Some sentences aren’t; some don’t make sense. “Because they leave out. The mist important ideal is explain in normle wrds.”

  8. Monday, September 17, 2012 4:45 pm

    I saw this blog post yesterday: http://allonbooks-thekingdomofallon.blogspot.co.nz/2012/09/allusion-of-popularity.html, where she talks about how a lot of reviews a book “the allusion of being widely read and popular”.

    Isn’t she using ‘allusion’ where the correct word is ‘illusion’? As in, “the allusion to Shakespeare’s writing give this novel the illusion of depth”.

    So my point would be to always check ANYTHING you are not 100% certain of. And then get someone to check it anyway, because we don’t always know what our weak points are.

    Because getting one little letter wrong can totally change the meaning.

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