Thursday, October 6, 2011
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
In their pursuit of clear, concise writing, journalism students sometimes develop the habit of writing everything in short, choppy paragraphs that are unrelated to one another. Reviewing any good high school writing handbook will remind you that considerable thought has been given to how longer paragraphs can be developed into well focused presentations of single units of thought.
What follows is an (imaginary) article invented to illustrate many of the "modes of discourse"--the traditional methods by which writing is developed. In succession, the following paragraphs are narration, description, , exposition, persuasion, definition, classification, and process analysis.
In most writing, these modes are mixed in natural combinations; for example, narration frequently includes description. The following paragraphs have been devised in an attempt to emphasize the characteristics of each mode of writing. The result is somewhat artificial--you would not normally write an article containing one each of seven types of paragraphs.
|"Park" is difficult to define in Florida, because there are so many kinds of parks. Basically, a park is a place to go for outdoor recreation-to swim, picnic, hike, camp, walk the dog, play tennis, paddle your canoe, and, in some places take rides in miniature trains or swish down a waterslide. Florida has a rich variety of parks, ranging from acres of RVs ringed around recreation halls, to impenetrable mangrove wilderness. To make things more complicated, not all of them are called "parks," and even the ones called "parks" come in several varieties.|
Comments on definition:
· Never define anything by the "according to Webster's" method. Meaning is found in the world, not in the dictionary. Bring the world into your story and use it to define your terms.
· Saying what something is NOT can help readers; but make a strong effort to say what it IS.
As we go through life there are some things that we do automatically. If there is an object falling toward you, you will duck or move out of the way. If you hear a siren, you will look to see what is happening. If there is a bright light in your eyes, you will cover them for protection. In fact everything that you do, you do for a reason. Writing is like any other human activity, then; it happens because a person is motivated to do it.
A writer who has no purpose is like a traveler without a destination. A writer without a reason for writing will produce nothing but confusion for himself as well as his readers. Keeping this in mind, we should know why we are writing before we begin.
There are many reasons why people write. Some of the most common ones listed below can be used as tips for brainstorming with your students to promote creative thinking.
1. Some writers wish to tell a good story; therefore they write to entertain.
2. Some writers wish to tell about something that has happened.
3. Some writers enjoy giving directions to tell others how to do something.
4. Some writers write to explain what a word or idea means; therefore they write to define.
5. Some writers write to explain things by answering questions or giving information.
6. Some writers want to describe or tell about the physical appearance or qualities of a person, place, thing, event, or idea.
7. Some writers enjoy convincing others to change opinion or persuade others to do something.
8. Some writers like to request help, information, or a specific item.
9. Some writers like to write to shorten another person’s words, articles, or books; as a result they write to summarize.
When these reasons or combination of reasons arise, the writing process has already begun, because the individual is already beginning to frame ideas.
Although we may have a purpose for writing, experts claim that writing can be learned but not taught. Through the writing process, students discover that getting started is often difficult. Thinking, talking, and working in small groups are prewriting activities which can bring beneficial results. These activities allow the students to feel free to express themselves without restraints. Also the act of sharing will always make the writer see another person’s point of view which can enlighten his own thinking. Therefore, these activities provide a stimulus for writing and assist students to generate ideas and focus on a topic. Displaying a picture, discussing current events, and discussing a television program that appeals to the students are great motivating factors to start the writing process. These types of stimuli allow the students to visualize a person, place, thing, or event which can easily influence the students thoughts while being transferred from their mind to the paper.
Group brainstorming sessions should follow the introduction of the stimulus because it provides a excellent atarting point for any discussion. During these sessions, the students can record feedback of their peers and teacher. Having been given the proper guidance and support, the student is now ready to formulate his ideas into a sequential order. Although there is the positive feedback of the group which reinforces the students sense and awareness of his ideas, the student may have to consult additional sources of information in order to develop his topic. In order to succeed in doing this phase of the writing process, the students must make use of library skills.
Writing is not a simple activity. It requires a vast amount of control of the mind and language. Some critics say that the writing process can never be mastered—but that skills are continually being developed during its mastery. This mastery of skills needed to produce quality writing is acquired by exploring and using techniques skillful writers have developed and used over the centuries, and by warning pitfalls. The greatest benefit of learning to write is developing as a human being. The writing process forces us to explore the world to enhance our capacity to think, feel, and perceive. Learning to express ourselves on paper is worth learning.