Tutor profile: Anais G.
Are there two kinds of people in the world: writers and non-writers?
I would say that we are all writers. Even students who do not identify as writers are still writing every day. Whether it be a text message, an email, a tweet, or a search engine entry, it is hard to get through a day without writing something these days. It may feel like the writing that you have to do in school is completely separate from these other forms of writing. This is because many students do not see themselves in the writing that they do for school. That may be because they do not yet have the skills to express their ideas clearly or because they are not yet sure exactly what they think. With practice and intention, though, students can learn to imbue required writing projects with their own voice. Writing becomes less of a chore when students feel like they are genuinely expressing their own thoughts and opinions—and the final product is usually better too.
Subject: Study Skills
Questions in the humanities usually have multiple answers, so how do you study for humanities classes?
Broadly speaking there are two main goals in humanities classes: to teach students content and to teach students method. In a history class, for example, the topics may vary but the techniques for generating and approaching historical questions and organizing one’s findings remain the same. In a philosophy class, students are learning how to think, read, and write as much as they are learning about one specific philosopher's ideas after another. In my experience as a long-time student and a more recent teacher, there are certain skills that are transferable across humanities disciplines that can give students a firm grounding in their coursework. Intentional practices of reading and writing help students approach the many questions that humanities classes pose with confidence and ability.
Subject: Religious Studies
What makes studying religion worthwhile for students of all subjects?
Often students will say that they do not think that religion is relevant to their lives and so there is no reason to study it. What I have learned studying and teaching in the field for eight years is that religious studies has valuable lessons for everyone. Firstly, it gives students access to the questions that have occupied people for thousands of years. Contrary to what one might expect, these are universally relevant questions, like “Why are we here?” and “How should we live?”. These are the questions that connect us to the generations that came before us, the questions that make us human. Religious studies provides a language to approach these questions for oneself by considering the views of others who have struggled with the same concerns. Perhaps more importantly, studying religion introduces ways of thinking about the world that encourage critical thinking, curiosity, and empathy. The daunting topic of religion becomes manageable when one gains familiarity with theories and techniques that help one to organize the material in the mind. This is not only a transferable intellectual skill but also a practice in humanizing others who are different from oneself.
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