Tutor profile: Emery H.
Each student is an individual, and as a result the ways in which they use and relate to skillsets such as writing can be very different. What are some of the different ways in which students may use this skill, and how can mentors encourage students to personalize their relationship to writing in order to find their own unique path through life?
Writing is an extremely flexible subject, and it can therefore be useful for both creative and technical pursuits. Perhaps one student will use it to write a novel, expressing their inner lives and experiences through the medium of a story---a powerful way in which to understand oneself and help others understand themselves as well. Perhaps another student will prefer to use writing to describe the world around them, whether that be scientifically, journalistically, or something else entirely. By asking students questions about their interests and goals, mentors can better understand how to help students relate to the material they are learning, helping them to find success in both school and life.
What role can literature play in how we understand and relate to the world around us?
Learning to analyze and relate to literature is a powerful way in which to understand the human experience as well as the complexities of the world around us. The more we examine writing alongside the self, the better we understand the thoughts and feelings of ourselves and others, making it a valuable means of increasing emotional literacy -- an important skill for all of us as we learn to navigate life.
In what way does learning to understand and use standard English serve students of all backgrounds, and how can mentors encourage this without alienating students for whom standard English is not the norm?
While there are many different English dialects in use, each of which is beautiful in its own way, mastery of standard English and knowing when and where to use it are valuable skills. Many jobs directly or indirectly rely on these abilities, and they can lead to numerous professional opportunities. In teaching students how to write and speak in standard English, it is important to frame it as learning an additional skillset rather than unlearning the skills they already have. The home languages and dialects of students deserve to be celebrated as important cultural legacies, and this can be done while students continue to learn the conventions of standard English.
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