Tutor profile: Kara B.
What makes a strong argumentative research essay?
Argumentative essays need to open with background information, the occasion (bigger picture), and the purpose of the essay, stated indirectly. The audience should be clear from the beginning and maintain the same throughout. Introductions should end with a thesis statement that makes a strong claim about the topic and set the tone for the paper. Thesis statements should serve as the roadmap for the essay by taking a stance and stating how you will prove that your stance is correct. Argument papers should not use the first person, but rather the third, to keep the essay from becoming too personal. The paper should be organized in a manner that is easy to follow and uses transitions and phrases to guide the reader through the argument. Evidence from outside sources should be used appropriately and cited properly in the right format to support the thesis statement. Outside evidence should directly support the argument and also have been introduced and given context. The author of the essay should maintain a balance between the words of other authors and their own. Meaning, all evidence should be explained thoroughly. The essay should conclude leaving the reader thinking about the bigger picture and convinced of the argument. The thesis statement should be restated in different words and the main ideas of the essay should be reiterated in the conclusion paragraph
What types of things do you look for when responding to literature?
When responding to literature, I look for students that have really broken the text down for its elements. I want students to look at parts of the text and how they pertain to the whole theme or story. Literature allows students to create their own interpretations while using well-chosen evidence from the story to support it. When analyzing literature, students are able to evaluate how and why an author used certain elements to achieve a certain effect, and when I review student responses, I always look for evidence that students use to support their ideas. Responding to literature can be done formally and informally, but regardless it needs to have strong reasoning. The best part about literary interpretation is that there is no wrong answer as long as you create a strong argument.
What is your favorite part about teaching English?
English is a subject that gives the opportunity for creative individual expression. I love being able to dive into pieces of literature with my students and see what they take from it. Reading and writing responses to literature have started some of my favorite conversations and essays in the classroom. When evaluating writing, I am able to conference with the students and learn about where they strive and where they struggle, while also learning about them as a person.
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