Tutor profile: Michael P.
What is a thesis statement and how do I construct a good one?
Thesis statements can be the toughest part of writing for students in high school and college. They can, admittedly, be very hard to grasp if one is not used to writing term papers. I like to tell my students that a thesis statement is an argument. In fact, take the term "statement" out, as that might make a student think of "facts." Facts support your argument, they are not the argument itself. The thesis is a 1-2 sentence section of your introduction that succinctly says 'what' you're arguing, 'how' you'll be arguing it, and 'why' you're arguing it. The 'what' is your central argument--it is an interpretation of information the writer has gathered. It is not an opinion, but an assertion that the writer intends to prove. The 'how' is a brief mention of what they'll use to make their argument--this can be a certain type of research or an analysis of certain things. Finally, the 'why' is an attempt to convince the reader that there is good reason to continue and that the rest of the paper will not simply be a recitation of facts. For new writers, a thesis is rarely something that can be spelled out and immediately understood. It's important for an instructor to understand that a proper thesis is something intuitive that takes time to create. I like to ask my students to bring in a thesis statement before a paper is due, so that we can break down if it is answering the 'what', 'why', and 'how' prompts. Analysis of draft thesis statements is the BEST way to make sure the final one is great!
Subject: Study Skills
What is a way to learn a complex subject when I have a tough time remembering certain key details?
Sometimes if you're struggling to grasp the details of a subject, and traditional methods like flash cards or outlining aren't really doing the trick, it might help to re-contextualize the content with which you're struggling. Say you're studying for a history test and you just can't remember the dates of certain events. It may help some students to try and think of what else was happening at that time. Perhaps something that gauges their interests? By associating some of these details with other things, those dates are re-contextualized in their mind and therefore seem less abstract or arbitrary. Alternatively, I always recommend approaching every subject like a story. And those little details, no matter how small they may seem, are key factors in creating that story. By looking at the overarching story and understanding the role each of these facts play, students can understand them better. That way, rather than simply memorizing something, they're learning it in context.
Subject: Digital Media
How have we seen media consumption evolve or change in the past decade?
Since the late 2000s, we have seen media consumption, including movies, television, radio, and other formats shift towards largely digital spaces. Beginning with the advent of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, the convenience of home-viewing becoming a vital part of how people interact with a/v media everyday, resulting in a substantial growth of streaming platforms since 2010. One could even argue that social media has begun to replace the traditional communal forms of viewership, like sitting in a crowded movie theater. Even radio has encountered new competition in the form of podcasts that have become extremely popular. Rather than fight this trend, content creators and production companies lean in and tried to capitalize on it by creating platforms that allowed for audiences to engage with content through the convenience of smart phone and laptops, but in a way that lets creators set the terms. Some have been very successful (Disney+), while others missed the mark (Quibi). However, the recent Coronavirus pandemic has called into question the balance of digital versus traditional media as, for example, film producers have pushed for movies to prioritize theatrical releases in an effort to ensure that form of viewership stays relevant.
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