I’ve been distracted away from blog posting by a number of things: most recently, a heap of student papers. But these papers, as it turns out, aren’t just time-consuming items to read and grade; they’re also rich material for a blog about writing instruction. With great regularity, they illuminate blog-worthy patterns in the prose writing styles of the latest crop of college graduates (my students are typically master’s students). One of these patterns appears in the three sentences below, which I’ve altered slightly for anonymity:
- In Temple Grandin’s Thinking in Pictures, it discusses how autistic people can be very visual in their thought processes.
- From talking with the student’s mother, it seems as though she is very satisfied with the accommodations he receives at school.
- For those individuals that are included with their regular education peers, they struggle more with accessing classroom reading materials because they are reading below grade level.
I hadn’t thought of this (from Doug):
One of the many advantages of the days when secondary schools had shop classes was that among those sort of practical, skill-based classes was drafting. And a part of drafting was learning to letter precisely and carefully.
Of course, those were also the days of explicit and meticulous handwriting lessons in grade school.
And I love this from Ana:
My brother was always a math wiz in school, but one high school teacher gave him B’s–the horror! It was entirely due to neatness. He straightened up quickly, aced the class and went on to major in math in college.
With Ana’s brother, I have to think there’s a connection between the initial Bs for sloppiness and the math major in college — if only because discipline breeds discipline.
Our unconscious minds are a subject of endless fascination to me. I’m pretty sure that we ‘observe’ ourselves unconsciously in some way, so that if we see ourselves taking care we conclude that we do care.
Ana’s nephew may have seen himself taking pains to write his numerals and symbols neatly and concluded that math mattered.
An SAT tutor tells me that three of her students have had perfect scores on the SAT essay.
All three were L2 students (English as a second language), and all three had perfect handwriting.
That’s the key. Or a key.
(And great tutoring, in this case.)
My thought: every student who will be taking the SAT should buy a copy of Write Now: The Complete Program For Better Handwriting and start practicing.
The before-and-after samples of physician handwriting are a stitch.
(I marched C. through half the book when he was in 5th grade, I think it was. I should have marched him through the whole thing, but I didn’t have the strength, what with the daily math re-teaching and MegaWords. My own handwriting improved tremendously, however.)
Speaking of the trickiness of English Question grammar, here is a video of some sample exercises from SentenceWeaver’s Advanced Questions module:
For more SentenceWeaver videos, visit Katharine’s Youtube channel.