Tutor profile: Stephanie H.
What is the best way to learn how to write?
By doing it! It is a craft that needs to be practiced and refined. It is like when a master-craftsman in carpentry teaches his apprentice how to make a table. The student makes a first attempt and then the teacher corrects the mistakes. Then the student tries again and receives for feedback. The two go back and forth constantly. In the end, the student masters not only the basics of making a table, but develops his own personal style. Writing is no different. The end goal is not only to master the basics (vocabulary, grammar, rhetoric) but also to develop a unique style of expressing your thoughts.
Philosophy seems to be an antiquated topic. Is Philosophy still relevant at all to the world today?
When you think of Philosophy, you probably imagine a "philosopher" of the "arm chair" variety; A man who sits and thinks himself in circles, coming up with "answers" that have no relevance to the "real world." Perhaps you think of Descarte and his iconic line, "cogito, ergo sum" (I think, therefore I am). But what does "cogito, ergo sum" have to do with getting a degree or a job? What relevance does it have to everyday life? Perhaps instead you think of Socrates, the man of Athens who developed a reputation for asking difficult questions of some of the most powerful societal leaders and politicians of his time. As Plato describes him, Socrates claimed only that he "knew that he knew nothing." He asked questions because he wanted and needed to know what he believed and why. If Socrates is the model of Philosophy, then it is a timeless art. Each of us must think through and determine how to live a good life. We must solve our own problems, choose our friends, make plans, set goals, etc. All of this requires careful thought. It is only by questioning ourselves and others that we achieve this.
Why study the English Language? When will I use it in real life? (Let us pretend that this is a student asking.)
We use the English Language every day. So much so that we take it for granted. It is not something you use only when you write a paper for class, make a presentation, or take an exam. You use it when you talk to your friends, send a text or an email, even when you think about your plans for tomorrow. Think about the last misunderstanding you had with someone. A misunderstanding is often caused by a problem in the use of language. I once told my husband to "put the water on," meaning I wanted him to put a pot of water on the stove. Instead, he put on the kettle! It is only when we are precise with our words, understand and can explain our meaning, and phrase our statements in a clear and concise way that we can truly communicate. To express yourself well and understand others, you need a proper grounding in the English Language.