Tutor profile: Rachel A.
"What's the point of writing multiple drafts?"
It's entirely possible to write a single draft for an assignment, turn it in, and receive an A. But there's always potential to do better through the process of revision! This is called "process writing" and shifts the focus from writing as a "product" based approach, where the goal is just to turn the assignment in for the best grade possible, to writing as an ongoing process as an ongoing skill. By engaging in pre-writing exercises, rough drafts, and submitting your work for review from your peers, tutors, and instructors, you are building a muscle. Multiple drafts and reviews help students become more comfortable with constructive criticism and allow students to see their writing through different viewpoints. It also allows students to discover the best method of writing that fits their needs, rather than relying on the age-old five paragraph essay structure.
Subject: Gender Studies
"How do you approach a paper from a lens of gender studies?"
Gender studies is one way to approach a topic for a critical analysis or even a research paper, can be incredibly broad. From feminism, masculinity studies, trans theory, there's many ways to apply a gender studies lens to your work. One of my personal favorites is to consider how gender is approached in popular literary works, from television shows to novels. How are the characters represented in the work? Are they treated differently by their writers? By their viewers/readers? For example, the popular Twilight Saga novels by Stephenie Meyer are widely regarded as a mainstream, self-insert romance fantasy. But what happens when the author releases a novel where the positions are reversed, and a young boy finds himself swept up in a whirlwind romance with a powerful vampire girl? Meyer's exploration in how the story of Twilight does or does not change in the novel Life and Death are ripe with examples of how approaches to gender can shift our interpretations of a text, as well as the author's own intentions.
"I'm not a humanities major! Why should I care about my English class?"
English, from literature to composition, is one of the most versatile subjects and can offer a wide-range of topics depending on your interest. Skills taught in English courses can include close-reading, analytical synthesis, academic research, communication, and interdisciplinary approaches to one's major. A literature class can take on many forms and no longer means the standard-fare of the literary canon. Quick perusals of community college and university offerings show a range of subjects for study, from the bible as literature to modern interpretations of Shakespeare to film as literature. Explorations in literature widen the mind and create a well-rounded, critical student, and can introduce students to worlds they never thought possible through the inclusion of diverse narratives. Composition and writing classes can prepare the non-English major across all fields and encourage good writing habits in the form of pre-writing and revisions. Classes in technical writing and editing are invaluable for business and STEM studies, providing experience in clear communication, as well as teach adaptable research and analytical skills.
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