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This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

Preface


Writing is often a challenge. If you were ever challenged to express yourself via the written word, this book is for you.

Writing for Success is a text that provides instruction in steps, builds writing, reading, and critical thinking, and combines comprehensive grammar review with an introduction to paragraph writing and composition.

Beginning with the sentence and its essential elements, this book addresses each concept with clear, concise, and effective examples that are immediately reinforced with exercises and opportunities to demonstrate learning.

Each chapter allows students to demonstrate mastery of the principles of quality writing. With its incremental approach, this book can address a range of writing levels and abilities, helping each student prepare for the next writing or university course. Constant reinforcement is provided through examples and exercises, and the text involves students in the learning process through reading, problem solving, practicing, listening, and experiencing the writing process.

Each chapter also has integrated examples that unify the discussion and form a common, easy-to-understand basis for discussion and exploration. This will put students at ease and allow for greater absorption of the material.

Tips for effective writing are included in every chapter, as well. Thought-provoking scenarios provide challenges and opportunities for collaboration and interaction. These exercises are especially helpful for working with groups of students. Clear exercises teach sentence and paragraph writing skills that lead to common English composition and research essays.

Writing for Success provides a range of discussion, examples, and exercises, from writing development to mastery of the academic essay, that serve both student and instructor.

Features


  • Exercises are integrated in each segment. Each concept is immediately reinforced as soon as it is introduced to keep students on track.

  • Exercises are designed to facilitate interaction and collaboration. This allows for peer-peer engagement, development of interpersonal skills, and promotion of critical-thinking skills.

  • Exercises that involve self-editing and collaborative writing are featured. This feature develops and promotes student interest in the knowledge areas and content.

  • There are clear internal summaries and effective displays of information. This contributes to ease of access to information and increases students’ ability to locate desired content.

  • Rule explanations are simplified with clear, relevant, and theme-based examples. This feature provides context that will facilitate learning and increase knowledge retention.

  • There is an obvious structure to the chapter and segment level. This allows for easy adaptation to existing and changing course needs or assessment outcomes.


Chapter 1

Introduction to Writing

1.1 Reading and Writing in College

LEARNING OBJECTIVES


  1. Understand the expectations for reading and writing assignments in college courses.

  2. Understand and apply general strategies to complete college-level reading assignments efficiently and effectively.

  3. Recognize specific types of writing assignments frequently included in college courses.

  4. Understand and apply general strategies for managing college-level writing assignments.

  5. Determine specific reading and writing strategies that work best for you individually.

As you begin this chapter, you may be wondering why you need an introduction. After all, you have been writing and reading since elementary school. You completed numerous assessments of your reading and writing skills in high school and as part of your application process for college. You may write on the job, too. Why is a college writing course even necessary?

When you are eager to get started on the coursework in your major that will prepare you for your career, getting excited about an introductory college writing course can be difficult. However, regardless of your field of study, honing your writing skills—and your reading and critical-thinking skills—gives you a more solid academic foundation.

In college, academic expectations change from what you may have experienced in high school. The quantity of work you are expected to do is increased. When instructors expect you to read pages upon pages or study hours and hours for one particular course, managing your work load can be challenging. This chapter includes strategies for studying efficiently and managing your time.

The quality of the work you do also changes. It is not enough to understand course material and summarize it on an exam. You will also be expected to seriously engage with new ideas by reflecting on them, analyzing them, critiquing them, making connections, drawing conclusions, or finding new ways of thinking about a given subject. Educationally, you are moving into deeper waters. A good introductory writing course will help you swim.

Table 1.1 "High School versus College Assignments" summarizes some of the other major differences between high school and college assignments.

Table 1.1 High School versus College Assignments



High School

College

Reading assignments are moderately long. Teachers may set aside some class time for reading and reviewing the material in depth.

Some reading assignments may be very long. You will be expected to come to class with a basic understanding of the material.

Teachers often provide study guides and other aids to help you prepare for exams.

Reviewing for exams is primarily your responsibility.

Your grade is determined by your performance on a wide variety of assessments, including minor and major assignments. Not all assessments are writing based.

Your grade may depend on just a few major assessments. Most assessments are writing based.

Writing assignments include personal writing and creative writing in addition to expository writing.

Outside of creative writing courses, most writing assignments are expository.

The structure and format of writing assignments is generally stable over a four-year period.

Depending on the course, you may be asked to master new forms of writing and follow standards within a particular professional field.

Teachers often go out of their way to identify and try to help students who are performing poorly on exams, missing classes, not turning in assignments, or just struggling with the course. Often teachers will give students many “second chances.”

Although teachers want their students to succeed, they may not always realize when students are struggling. They also expect you to be proactive and take steps to help yourself. “Second chances” are less common.

This chapter covers the types of reading and writing assignments you will encounter as a college student. You will also learn a variety of strategies for mastering these new challenges—and becoming a more confident student and writer.

Throughout this chapter, you will follow a first-year student named Crystal. After several years of working as a saleswoman in a department store, Crystal has decided to pursue a degree in elementary education and become a teacher. She is continuing to work part-time, and occasionally she finds it challenging to balance the demands of work, school, and caring for her four-year-old son. As you read about Crystal, think about how you can use her experience to get the most out of your own college experience.


EXERCISE 1


Review Table 1.1 "High School versus College Assignments" and think about how you have found your college experience to be different from high school so far. Respond to the following questions:

  1. In what ways do you think college will be more rewarding for you as a learner?

  2. What aspects of college do you expect to find most challenging?

  3. What changes do you think you might have to make in your life to ensure your success in college?

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