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Handwriting fluency and the in-class thesis

Handwriting fluency and the in-class thesis

Another reason that I assign a hand-written journal: seeing as you will be tested largely by hand writing essays in class, fluency and practice are crucial.  The journal is a training ground.

From the article:

“Students completed a measure of handwriting fluency and provided samples of writing from exam conditions and a formative class essay. The results indicated that, compared to a class essay, exam writing was constrained by the low level writing skill of handwriting fluency. Surprisingly, it was found that the undergraduates were very slow writers whose writing speed was equivalent to published fluency data on 11-year-old schoolchildren. The relationships between handwriting fluency and writing quality were also very similar to those of published data on 11-year-old children, with handwriting fluency accounting for large amounts of the variance in writing quality and tutor marks for exam answers. The results of the current study indicate that lower level processes constrain the higher level performance of undergraduate students to a significant extent.”

Worth a read if you want to see for yourself.

By the act of reading…

…you enter the long black branches of other lives.

“Will I miss anything important?”: About absences

Did I Miss Anything?

Tom Wayman

Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours

     Everything. I gave an exam worth
     40 percent of the grade for this term
     and assigned some reading due today
     on which I’m about to hand out a quiz
     worth 50 percent

Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose

     Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
     a shaft of light suddenly descended and an angel
     or other heavenly being appeared
     and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
     to attain divine wisdom in this life and
     the hereafter
     This is the last time the class will meet
     before we disperse to bring the good news to all people
          on earth.

Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?

     Everything. Contained in this classroom
     is a microcosm of human experience
     assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
     This is not the only place such an opportunity has been
          gathered

     but it was one place

     And you weren’t here

From Did I Miss Anything? Selected Poems 1973-1993, 1993
Harbour Publishing

Critical Thinking: Basic terms

Let’s put the tools in the toolbox. Commit these to memory, start applying them, and you’ll start some keen thinking:

Fact: a statement that can be verified.

Opinion: what someone thinks, believes, or wishes.

When you state your opinion, there are four types:

Judgement evaluates, using evidence and reasoning.

Advice recommends, usually based on judgement.

Generalization is sometimes true, depending on degree: all, some, none, most, many.

Personal taste or sentiment is what you like.

(I suggest a sentence mnemonic: Japanese Animals Grazing Peacefully.)

Gladiator was a terrible movie for swordfighting aficionados” is judgement.

“You should go to college” is advice.

“Men have more upper body strength” is generalization.

“My favorite color is __________________” or “I’ll take the Pepsi” is personal taste.

Understanding Poetry: the “West Wind #2” thesis rough-out

20130625-110935.jpg

The essay begins to take shape.

Note that I’ve numbered the lines in increments of five.

The Three Moving Forces

The Elizabethans of Shakespeare’s time, in response to the Question of Good and Evil, believed in three factors that shape how things unfold:

Providence, i.e., God’s will,

Fortune, i.e., luck and chance, and

human character, i.e., your diligent study, practice, training, and action.

Take care of your end, my friends: “‘Good luck’ is when opportunity meets preparation.”

Re-Imagining the Comprehensive High School

Re-Imagining the Comprehensive High School

What is the “authentic problem” of poetry?