November 15, at In the late 70s I taught maths and I knew the chances of a student outwitting me was very low — not because I was very good at Maths but because most maths stuff we taught had been around for hundreds if not thousands of years and every problem in all the text books had been solved over and over; and as a young teacher I felt safe yayyyyy!
At school, university, and back at school again, showing my students how to do it. In my fourteen years teaching I must have modelled hundreds of essays. I have likely set and assessed thousands of the blighters.
My go-to strategy has always been to model the essay writing process, to make visible how an expert essay writer thinks. Students are often left baffled by how fast I can make decisions about my essay, how I can pluck sophisticated academic words seemingly from the ether, and then write with speed as well.
With sore hands and muffled complaints, students have been pulled along on the path from novice to expert. I went onto write the following about the complexity of essay writing: For English Literature then, we need to distill down that complexity into more manageable diagnostic assessments, so that our students can gradually develop from their novice status towards something like expertise.
To use an analogy, writing a great essay is like the creation of a strong rope, with each sub-strand being woven together in unison. Each strand of the rope can represent the crucial knowledge required for essay writing success. If we are to teach great essays, then we need to define the strands that will be woven together to form the rope.
For my GCSE students, you can refer to the exam board rubrics, but they too often prove vague and not as definitive as we would like.
I have ignored exam rubrics for this reason. I think there is something useful about the order in which I have presented the strands above. I think the different strands lend themselves to different diagnostic assessments. Knowledge and understanding of social context lends itself to cumulative quizzing.
Once students have consolidated these basic facts, they can begin to display understanding of those characters: It is this progression of assessment that is important.
There has been much gnashing of teeth at the prospect of students memorising over quotations for English Literature.
That is to say, those quotations that you can use for a multitude of essay questions, as they encompass many different ideas, themes or issues from the given text.
An effective essay writer can only store so many quotations, so they need to be pertinent and selected judiciously.
In terms of diagnostic assessments for selecting good quotations, we can start with using multiple choice questions that get students to correctly relate quotations to individual characters or themes.
We can get students to rank order quotations with regard to their relevance, relative importance etc. We can get them to select quotations when given a specific character, theme or prospective essay question.
Alternatively, or concurrently, we can get students to devise a quotation timeline, that sorts quotations by chronological order, and more.The user manual is the documentation that describes how to use the system. It should describe what to do when the users want to achieve a particular result.
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It should be taken into strong consideration that although an operating system's documentation will state the minimum system requirements is low, a user may not agree to the level of functionality.
In short, the bare requirements are often not acceptable performance to your client.