Tutor profile: Tirzah A.
What are the commonalities between creative and argumentative writing?
Behind many creative writings is self-expression, which the readers then enjoy. Initially, some writers do not create these stories with an intended audience in mind. In argumentative works, persuasion, dissuasion, and information are at the center. On the surface, these genres appear too distinct to be related, but both convey their own sense of logic. In a creative story, for example, breaking the first-person narration disrupts the “illusion,” its cohesion; and failing to believably progress the story’s logic through its characters’ actions can confuse or frustrate readers in the same way that a poorly developed idea in an argumentative can disorient a reader. In both genres, unintended implications and oversights arise from the writers’ experiences, biases, or objectives which require one to closely read to assess work.
What are the best ways to read a text? How can someone improve his or her reading abilities?
1) Generally, knowing the context helps put many things into perspectives, such as tone, vocabulary, arguments, counterarguments, and conclusions. Individually, however, this varies person-to-person. Diverse interpretations emerge from the same text, which is the beauty of reading. Reading can be a pastime or hobby, or it can bring solace to someone; and while these forms of individualized reading are valid and necessary, at some point, reading cannot be done in isolation. It is important to have a conversation about what was just read and how one interprets the information, which then makes reading more communal. 2) Some tactics include: a. Reading things outside one’s “comfort zone.” For example, if someone is accustomed to reading speculative fiction, expanding his or her scope to scientific articles or current events would provide more development. b. Searching for the definitions of unknown words within a text, then rereading the passage to better understand that word’s use within the overall context of the text. c. Creating designated times to read, and setting an amount (e.g., how many pages, articles, etc. to complete). d. Rereading passages to better understand them and retain information. e. Annotating, which looks different for many students, but often involves highlighting key points; connections; repetitive words or phrases; difficult or “dense” moments; unknown words; confusing moments; among others. f. Reviewing previous passages.
Subject: English as a Second Language
When expressing your ideas, is it better to be grammatically correct with superficial thinking, or have a more profound argument that is comprehensible, but grammatically incorrect?
For college-level writing, this is complicated. Many humanities courses aim for their students to logically analyze the relationships between something; present an original, defendable sound argument; and maintain cohesion. In my experience as a writing tutor, native English-speaking students often struggled to craft their own thesis, deepen their analyses, or establish the relationships between their argument and subclaims just as many ESL students did. There is an additional challenge that some ESL students experience when reading and writing about complex subjects, which is why it is important to have more patience and cultural awareness. While some courses, teaching assistants, and professors are stricter about adhering to proper grammatical conventions than others, sentence-level revision can be achieved alongside brainstorming and organizing an essay.
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