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Poonam N

Highschool Student,

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English should be taught differently in schools

An appreciation for english should be implemented in high-schools rather than the current system of teaching that stresses the importance of essay/analytical/response writing. Even so, this style of writing is marked according to the students ability to produce quality work under stress, time constraints and limited resources.

In most cases, students that dont read as often due to other personal demands end up struggling in these classes, and succumb to critiquing and doubting their writing.. losing interest in english on the whole, as efforts go undistinguished in these tight marking guidelines.

Instead teachers should allow students to progress gradually with their writing, with marking specifically aimed to correct grammar and spelling, rather than the students verbiage.

Grading writing on the basis of writing style should be avoided, as interpretations to good and bad writing is dependent on the teacher and labelling a students work as 'poor' or 'weak' can have damaging affects on the students approach to the subject. Unlike maths where this is one definite answer, english teachers should be open to all sorts of writing, only correcting 'definite' mistakes, rather than every minute issue such as re-phrasing or vocabulary usage.


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    Sep 1 2012: I used to be a terrible writer. Then I found a program called Grammatik. (Long time ago. lol) It forced me to be a better writer. I trusted it. I never trusted my teachers. It was consistent. It pointed out mistakes and gave me the rules that it based its conclusion on. A teacher never explained why the A, B, or C. No one ever spent any time with ME helping me or explaining what was going on, and in compulsory school, when I went, it was wrong for a child to suggest to a teacher that he/she wasn't doing a very good job.

    this being said, I was prepared to write non-fiction in preparation for college. I was never taught how to write fiction - one of my greatest sorrows. I still can't find a class on the Internet.

    I recommend replacing writing teachers with computer programs, but having a class in Thesis Writing for those who will benefit from it.
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      Sep 1 2012: where can i get this program? and yah, i agree 100% with you.. I'm awful at fiction, and i prefer non-fiction writing.. teachers i guess are required to show their input.. but i think anyone can learn how to write by reading lots of articles, newspapers, online material, blogging and ect.

      to not be able to suggest that the teacher may have been wrong would have been terrible! I'm sure you had your moments where you just couldnt agree, or see where the teacher was coming from.

      hmm, computer programs maybe... ive never tried using a program to guide my writing, so i guess it would have to be tests done first.. before any official implementation were to be set.

      maybe it could be a personal choice? to have teachers on the sideline, and programs as the system of norm?
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        Sep 1 2012: I had that program in the 80s when my computer was DOS. (Well before your time. I had one of the early computers with a speed of 10Mz, though I could slow that down to 7 because some programs just couldn't handle the speed of 10. LOL!!!)

        It's not so much that a teacher and I disagreed. OMG! The punishment that would have come from that is unthinkable. It's that the teacher never made comments. Never suggested something like - "Try developing this, or you are putting too many ideas into a paragraph, or anything. If we asked, "Why only a B", we were told that it was because that was all we deserved. We were never taught HOW to write - except the Thesis that was required for HS graduation - but that was just how to footnote and create an outline. That's not writing.
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          Sep 1 2012: oh thats soo fascinating and cool to know! 7Mz, wow, thats a whole new level of slow..

          Thats terrible, may i ask, what time period is this from? I never knew schools ran like this in the past..What country?

          I'm sure that students had to really work their buts of in terms of independent learning, and applying that to writing.

          Now days, we take a teachers help for granted. Shame..

          Thesis! THATS IT! Thats not much help..
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        Sep 1 2012: Another note: I remember my senior thesis. We had a year to do the research, do an outline, and make our notes. But, I lost the book and couldn't find it anywhere. So, the day before the Thesis was due (and if not turned in, I wouldn't graduate), I went to the library, checked out every book that I had read, that was available, some that I hadn't read, and carried the huge stack home. I set them on the table and grabbed a book at random. I opened it to no particular place, read until I found a usable quote (usually within a few paragraphs, but sometimes within as much as 3 pages), and I began typing I did this without any outline and with no thought of where I was going.

        I received one of the few A+s that the teacher had ever given out. Her only comment was "This is so good". She didn't tell me why it was good or what about it constituted good writing. I guess I was supposed to figure that out by myself.

        So what did I learn? Outlines, though sometimes helpful, are not necessary. I do my best work under pressure. I don't know the difference between good writing and bad writing.
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          Sep 1 2012: I myself don't know the difference between with good writing and bad, and that is saying something for several reasons. Firstly, teachers always share different viewpoints on good and bad writing. This although useful to some extent, has otherwise completely confused me, and I know simply regard writing that i enjoy as good...

          WOW.. so your writing was better without an outline. HAHA, this reminds me of exams, where one of my teachers always stressed the importance of brining outlines to the exams as guidelines. I remember being one of the few students who brought nothing.. and I managed to do rather good. Outlines seem to just sit there for referral, but i tend to write with my own scope of idea when put under pressure..

          A+ .. You must have been really confused as to why that piece of writing was better in comparison to your other submissions..

          Still a very interesting story and read!
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        Sep 1 2012: I graduated high school in 1968 - New York State Regents diploma -- USA. A "Regents" diploma was the highest level diploma available.

        But remember, back then, most adults thought that the only reason a woman should go to college is to meet a man who will be successful. By itself, education was pretty much wasted on a woman, except that it helped her be a better hostess. So teachers didn't really spend much time educating the girls.
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          Sep 1 2012: Thats really crazy! Still, for such a early time period i would have expected that teachers style of educating hadn't change so greatly over the years.
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        Sep 1 2012: Well, I do want you to know that you're a good writer. You make a point, develop it, involve your own view of the world to make strong contrasts, and that all helps the reader understand exactly what you are expressing. Perhaps you are a budding author???
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          Sep 1 2012: No, english is my worst subject, according to my grades. I think I just pass... :/

          The irony.. :P

          And you are a brilliant writer. You keep me engaged, and you develop interesting reads. Haha, i actually would think that your strength lies in fiction rather than non-fiction.

          Again, the irony :P
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        Sep 1 2012: Here's another piece of almost irony. I'm a professional memoirist. I help people write their memoirs. Ha! A fun way to teach (and do) fun non-fiction. It's not boring because it's about fascinating characters and interesting lives - each of which is very different. Because people who want memoirs are usually my age or older, I help them create contrast between "the olden days" and today - so their memoirs are very amusing and quite enlightening. If these people weren't real, they would sound like well-developed fictional characters with fascinating stories to tell.

        So, I'm not really a writer, but words were my livelihood. (Who-da-thunk-it???)
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          Sep 1 2012: WOW! I've never heard of the career before, so I've now learnt something new! How long does a usual session go for? And how does it work? As in, what is the general process?

          I bet it's kind of like reading a fictional book... except its somewhat true. :P

          Is it just people with memory conditions; mainly neurological disorders?

          AHA! True, well developed indeed!

          Do you have any books? Or do you simply enjoy working with the language?

          thunk, grammatik didn't have a spelling feature did it? :P only joking!
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        Sep 2 2012: It takes about 10 -12 hours of interviewing at 1-2 hours each, depending on the client. I never accept clients who are in dimensia.

        I've written a family history book - not genealogy, but rather a collection of historical accounts of ancestors - some amusing, some insightful, some downright funny. All historically interesting. I published it and gave copies to my relatives.

        I wrote a fiction book once and submitted it to 10 publishing houses. I did get a call from one, but she eventually declined, and I never resubmitted because I wasn't as happy with it as I had been, and decided that I wasn't yet up to clarifying the theme sufficiently.

        I have a book on my hard drive (that i've been working on for nearly 30 years). Last year I finally had it down the way I am satisfied with it. I entered it in a contest last year, even though I knew that it was one chapter short (non-fiction). Evenso, I made it through the first cut. Didn't win though. I will finish this one. I'm just waiting for my inner guide to tell me to go ahead - or I am waiting for the experience that will fill in something that I am supposed to know 1st.

        Grammatik's greatest feature was one that scored my grade-level writing. I had always been writing to impress teachers (those smarter than me) with my knowledge & ability. I'd been going for grade 12+. But Grammatik said to write to a 5th-6th grade audience. WOW! That forced me to slow down & think about what I wanted to say. It exposed the ignorance I had been covering with fancy words in non-fiction, and it forced me to visualize & fill out the scenes in the fiction. This made writing FUN. Feedback from a professor in a class I took 10 years ago proved this technique correct. At the end of the class, he pronounced me most likely to be published & gave me his contact info (he was moving to South America). So I know I have talent.

        But - writers NEED good editors.

        (This written @ 6th grade level)

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