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.
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.
Technology, for example, is a good topic because it's something we can all relate to in one way or another.
Once you've chosen a topic, you must narrow it down into a single thesis or central idea.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.Emmons encourages students to instead discuss specific and widely applicable rhetorical maneuvers and concepts in their portfolio letters, pointing to examples from their own work.In doing so, she says, students “are more likely to be able to transfer these skills to new writing situations.” As I see it, that’s the core purpose of English composition: to give students reading and writing tactics they can use with future academic, professional, and creative work.Students are fully aware of that rhetorical effect.The rhetoric scholar Kathleen Blake Yancey refers to that tactic as “the schmooze factor.” Much like that person at a party who, in the moment, radiates charm (likely because of how they make you feel), the narrative of progress has a hypnotic tug.After this first sentence, add your thesis statement.The thesis clearly states what you hope to express in the essay. Think of the introduction and conclusion as the bun, with the "meat" of your argument in between. Before you can begin writing, you'll need to choose a topic for your essay, ideally one that you're already interested in.The introduction is where you'll state your thesis, while the conclusion sums up your case. The body of your essay, where you'll present facts to support your position, must be much more substantial, usually three paragraphs. Nothing is harder than trying to write about something you don't care about.