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Tutor profile: Kate C.

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Kate C.
Honours English Undergraduate at University of British Columbia, Former TESL Teaching Assistant at British Columbia Christian Academy
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Questions

Subject: Literature

TutorMe
Question:

Comment briefly on how Emily Dickinson's presentation of the "Snake" produce themes of fear and awe for nature in the human, within her poem, "A narrow Fellow in the Grass" (1096).

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Kate C.
Answer:

Part of the snake’s deception is that it never quite reveals enough of itself to the Boy, or to the reader. Although “A spotted Shaft is seen” [Dickinson 986.6], Dickinson alludes to this image as if only a partial glimpse of it can be discerned. The emphasis is instead on the Grass itself, how “the Grass divides as with a Comb” [Dickinson 986.5] and the way in which the snake manages to stay hidden beneath it, travelling undetected, before, just as “instant[aneously]”as it had divided, the Grass “closes at your Feet / And opens further on-” [Dickinson 986.7-8]. The snake never discloses enough of itself for us to know when, like the ‘Boy’ who is barefoot and vulnerable, we have found ourselves in its presence. Its appearance instead is always sudden and unfamiliar—“His notice instant is-” [Dickinson 986.4]—in the same way that the line break which immediately follows creates an abrupt pause.

Subject: English as a Second Language

TutorMe
Question:

Explain why the following sentence is grammatically incorrect: "I have one goal; to find her." When might a semicolon be appropriate to use in writing?

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Kate C.
Answer:

This sentence uses a semicolon to replace the function of a colon. The colon and semicolon cannot be used interchangeably. The writer can replace a period with a semicolon if they wish to narrow the gap between two closely linked sentences, such as in the sentence: "I have an important test tomorrow; I can't go out tonight." The semicolon may also be used just before conjunctive adverbs, when they introduce a complete sentence. For instance, "I gave Daisy thirty dollars for the bracelet she wore; however, she couldn't be bribed." The semicolon may also be used in a sentence that separates units of a series, when one or more of the units contain commas, such as in the following sentence: "The landlord wanted only three things from his tenants: the rent charges paid on time; no large stains or marks on the walls; and no pets to live in the building."

Subject: English

TutorMe
Question:

How can an instructor provide valuable feedback to students' written essays?

Inactive
Kate C.
Answer:

Depending on whether the student is completing a literary analysis, a paper based on expository writing, academic writing, or argumentative writing within a close reading of literary text, the instructor must note what strategies for writing and formulation will work best for the learner and their assignment. However, the instructor should maintain, across these genres of writing, an emphasis on producing strong and clear sentences. In response to a student's written essay, it is best for the instructor to focus on each section of the essay (thesis, conclusion, etc.) with clear and tangible feedback that include actionable commentary. From the first draft, the instructor can assess whether the student has defined a goal for their paper (e.g., delineating a specific argument) and whether their paper works to address and develop this argument and its function in the literary text. If the student is struggling to meet their goal, or the paper shows that the goal they have set for themselves is not as concrete or productive as it could be, the instructor can first show the learner how to better define it, then how specifically to meet the criteria of the goal in question. The instructor's focus in providing meaningful feedback should be to identify for the learner, the areas in their work which may obstruct them from producing a more cogent piece of writing, (whether it be organization of ideas, grammar and punctuation, the matter and formulation of the sentences themselves, a lack of supporting evidence, or a blend of all these), then to implement distinct writing techniques based on correcting such areas, to help to gradually form efficient writing habits. The instructor should avoid overly technical or nuanced language when providing feedback to novices. Instead, making feedback user-friendly that makes sense to your learner, consistently providing examples and addressing the reasons for the areas that are not as efficient as they could be in parts of the essay. It is crucial for the learner to be taught to construct a strong thesis, the significance of close reading and its role as a primary source for the paper, and how to develop and organize their thoughts in a cohesive and concise manner throughout their paper.

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