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1.2: Introduction to Writing

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    The Introduction to Writing section is about helping your students understand the rhetorical situations they'll be writing for in a college classroom or work setting. It helps students understand that writing is a skill, not a magic ability.

    You can use this chapter in the beginning of the term to help your students understand context and audience, as well as understand the writing situations they may encounter in college. If you are part of the GSU system, you can access the online resource library, which contains numerous example assignments, assignment scaffolds, and worksheets that cover some of this material.

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    Section 1.2.1

    This section begins with a broad overview of writing in various contexts and it provides general advice on approaching writing assignments, especially on how to start them and avoid writer's block. We then move to a more specific focus on Voice and Focus. You could design other exercises that model the weak/strong voice example and exercises we include there if you feel like your students need more practice than the one we include.

    Section 1.2.2

    This section has as its focus some of the common assignments students will likely encounter in your class or other classes at college, asking them to consider audience, tone, and purpose while getting to know what professors mean when they say words like "analyze" or "evaluate." An exercise you could do with your students is have groups read the same text, but then have each group perform a different intellectual task. For example, one group would analyze, one would evaluate, and so on.

    Section 1.2.3

    This section is on source use, a concept many students are unfamiliar with, especially at an "access institution," where the editors for this book teach. Because students write various projects where they need to use sources well, we put this in the beginning of the book. It starts with the basic question of what a source is and how professors think about (and expect their students to think about) sources. It moves through the basics of how and why to cite sources effectively, efficiently, and ethically. you and your students will notice that the language here about source use will be reinforced in Chapter 4, when students begin research projects.

    It ends with a strongly-worded warning against using online paraphrasing tool. A simple exercise asking students to put a paragraph into an online paraphrasing tool, comparing that to the original, then actually paraphrasing without the tool, can be done by individuals or groups.

    Sections 1.2.4 (Thesis statements)

    Sections 1.2.5 (Organization)

    Sections 1.2.6 (Paragraphs)

    These sections address specific concerns that many composition professors have about the day-to-day skills and components of writing papers, and how you use them will depend on your assignment sequencing. If you start with smaller and lower-stakes papers that work on paragraphs and organization, perhaps pairing with the material in chapter 3, you could begin with 1.6, then move backwards. However, if you start with an argumentative paper, you may want to start with 1.4.

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