Tutor profile: Taylor H.
What is a significant symbol in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird?
The plot of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird addresses the ideas of innocence, empathy, prejudice, and misunderstanding through the stories of Boo Radley and Tom Robinson. The name of the novel comes from one of its most famous symbols, the mockingbird. In the beginning of the book, the narrator's (Scout) father states that killing a mockingbird is a "sin" because the birds are harmless, even providing beauty and music for those around them. As the book progresses, the mockingbird becomes a symbol for two of the book's most important figures--Boo Radley and Tom Robinson. Boo Radley is the neighborhood recluse, avoiding the public eye because of his traumatic past; although he is misunderstood and judged by the neighbors, he ends up rescuing the protagonist, proving his innocence. Tom Robinson is an African American man who is falsely accused and convicted of raping a white woman, solely because of his race. Through Boo and Tom, Scout learns empathy and how to see from another's perspective. As a result of Scout's life lesson, Boo and Tom take on new symbolic meaning. Their experiences connect them to the book's earlier quote about the mockingbird, transforming the mockingbird into a symbol of innocence in the fact of misunderstanding.
My writing sounds choppy and simplistic. What can I do to improve?
Sentence structure is crucial to clear, concise, and sophisticated writing. If your writing sounds choppy or too elementary, it may be because you are using mostly simple sentences. A simple sentence contains only one independent clause--a group of words that can stand independently as a sentence. Even though simple sentences are technically correct, using lots of them in succession can disrupt the flow of your writing. Instead, try varying your sentence structure to include compound and complex sentences. For a compound sentence, start by finding two simple sentences (or independent clauses) that relate closely to one another. Then, combine them together into one sentence. This can be accomplished in a couple different ways. One was is to combine the independent clauses by putting a colon or semi-colon in the middle. Alternatively, you can also use a comma and a coordinating conjunction (a.k.a FANBOYS) in between the clauses. Another way to vary sentence structure is to incorporate complex sentences. Instead of combining two independent clauses, complex sentences start with an independent clause and add a dependent clause. A dependent clause is a group of words that contain a subject and verb but do not express a complete thought (and therefore, cannot stand as an independent sentence). Dependent clauses are formed by adding a subordinating conjunction, such as while, wherever, even though, although, etc. Using compound and complex sentences will improve your writing by making your sentences flow more smoothly and sound more sophisticated!
Explain the concept of scaffolding and the theoretical framework behind it.
Scaffolding is the practice of gradually building students' ability towards increasingly difficult or complex tasks. The point of scaffolding is to provide supports to students that are comparable to the scaffolds on a newly-constructed building. As the building is constructed and becomes more stable, the scaffolding is removed; likewise, the supports that teachers provide to scaffold students should be gradually removed as students experience more success. The concept of scaffolding comes from Vygotsky's theory of social constructivism. While his researched focused heavily on the importance of talk, he also developed the idea of the zone of proximal development. This zone is the level of difficulty that is most conducive to new learning. This zone includes tasks that can be completed with guidance; in the classroom setting, this guidance comes in the form of scaffolding from the teacher.
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