Changing to Webinar-Style Education: Is it possible?

Changing to Webinar-Style Education: Is it possible?

What do we need to do to really connect to this generation of students? How can we inspire them to accomplish and learn without feeling like we need to do it for them? Can we use the new forum of webinars, workshops, and blog articles with condensed and concise information to hold their attention and get them to do more quality work? Just the other day on an education forum with veteran female Marines, one young woman vented about her fellow college students: “Kids are SLEEPING IN THE FIRST ROW! And when one of my professors calls out a kid by name to answer a question and he gave him this stupid look and didn’t even say a word. SAY SOMETHING! Then we had an essay due last night (an easy essay!) and almost the entire class asked for an extension. Which I get when you really need it! But some of these kids said they just didn’t get around to it in time 🤦🏼‍♀️ Plus 90% of the students I come across have NO respect. Y’all, it’s driving me up a wall. I can’t.” Okay, maybe this is an individual circumstance, or maybe it is a generational issue, or maybe it is because the teacher did not set clear expectations. But maybe, just maybe, we teachers need to admit that the old way of doing things is NOT WORKING!!  Let’s consider that maybe we teachers can use the instant gratification and technological advances of this age to improve our delivery rather than complaining that these students just don’t get it. Because they do.  They do get it.  They...
Teaching Writing is Hard!!

Teaching Writing is Hard!!

What’s so hard about it? Why do English teachers struggle with teaching writing? What can we do about it? What’s so difficult about teaching writing? For most writers, we are so passionate about writing and practice is so much that we learn the skills without realizing it. Think about it like this: What is something that you love so much, practice so often even though it is challenging to learn, and people say to you that you make it look easy? Just because you make it look easy does not mean that it is easy. It’s the love that you have for it that drives you to learn the skills to accomplish it EVEN when it is difficult. That is how writers feel. We cannot not write. So even though it is extremely hard to learn the skills and to keep writing when everything in us wants to quit, life is better when we write. We cannot not write. Just like you cannot not do what you love. That said, writing is HARD!!! The skills that we have had to learn to be good writers have come with failure after failure… these failures you don’t see because they are in our literal or virtual trash bins. Why is it so hard to teach writing? Many times for writers, as you can imagine with your thing, it is hard to understand someone who is not as passionate about what we love. It is also a challenge to identify the steps that we have taken to become good at writing. Sometimes, teachers of writing are better at inspiring writing than we are at...
How to Analyze Expository Texts Through the Rhetorical Appeals

How to Analyze Expository Texts Through the Rhetorical Appeals

Downloadable Worksheet Time— Rhetorical Appeals: for analyzing expository texts!! Who else is excited?!? One thing that I promised you is that I would provide worksheets and activities for you to practice college writing at home at least once a week, so here is the first of many. Description of Rhetorical Appeals Activity: This worksheet is meant to give you a beginners knowledge of how to discuss and identify rhetorical appeals in an expository text.  Expository texts are any text that is non-fiction: newspaper articles, informational journals, blogs, magazine articles are just the beginning. Note: At a later time we can discuss how any types of videos or audio recordings can also be analyzed for rhetoric. Activity: Analyze a newspaper article for rhetoric. Objectives: Students will begin to see that any text can be analyzed for rhetoric. Students will have a beginning knowledge of the meaning of ethos, pathos, and logos. Directions: Print out or find a newspaper article that you are interested in. Use the printable to discuss or write the answers to each question one by one.  Know that each question will have an answer and each answer might be challenging to find.  Look beyond the obvious!! Skip any questions that you are really struggling with and come back to them later. After you have completed as many questions as possible, go back to the ones you skipped. One that you might struggle with is this: What does the author want you to do with the information? Most likely, he/she wants you to change your opinion on a subject, describe. Think about some additional questions about the author:...
Why Another Writing Curriculum?

Why Another Writing Curriculum?

I get it.  Writing Curriculum all seems to have been done before, but has it? I have looked through curriculum after curriculum claiming to prepare students for college writing.  However, the curriculum is filled with text after text of comprehension questions that, in all honesty, are a waste of time. Comprehension questions, once students are in high school, teach students ZERO skills that are useful in college.  Professors in college will never ask students to answer comprehension questions, and students will not remember how those questions were formed in order to use them. Why are we still giving students comprehension questions then? Maybe teachers think that it’s a good assessment to find out if the student actually read the text.  Maybe they think that it will teach them something.  I’m honestly not sure.  Most likely, it is just something “we’ve always done.” Even requiring students to write a summary of the text should begin to dwindle at about 9th grade.  EVEN if they are lower-skilled readers.  Yes, I said it.  Even lower-skilled readers should stop doing summaries when they begin high school. Why should the students not do summaries and comprehension questions, you may ask? In my experience teaching some of the lowest skilled readers: including English as a Second Language students and students with learning disabilities, ALL students can learn to pull quotes from the text, respond to them and decipher what the author is doing… all when taught how to do it. These useful skills are learned regardless of reading comprehension.  And I may add that by teaching these skills, students may actually improve in their reading...
What is Rhetoric?

What is Rhetoric?

Everyone uses rhetoric.  Rhetoric is the way that we talk to convince people of what we want them to believe. Rhetoric is not only a formal persuasive speech. Each day we live, every moment we communicate we are attempting to convince others to believe us.  We try to convince them to believe that we are who we think we are by the way we speak, dress, and behave.  If we believe that we are kind people, we will speak kindly to people, we will dress nicely, and treat people with kindness and generosity. We believe something about ourselves and the world and want other people to believe that, too. In this world, we can’t believe that we are kind, say that we are kind, but at the same time treat people badly and convince people that we are kind. We are who we say we are, act like we are, and look like we are through our facial expressions and other nonverbal communication.  If we do not have all three of these aspects to prove what we want people to believe about us then people will be skeptical. This is the Ethos, Pathos, and Logos of Persuasion Ethos is the speaker’s credibility.  If we want to be perceived as a kind person, we must be credible as a kind person.  We must treat people nicely, be generous and patient.  The moment that we don’t do one of these things, our credibility goes down and people begin to question whether we really are who we say we are. Pathos is the emotions that we create in our audience.  In this...
Why Inquiry-Based Lessons?

Why Inquiry-Based Lessons?

You’ll notice quickly that I do not create lessons or activities that do not require some sort of inquiry or critical thinking process.  Throughout my years of teaching students have always said things like, “Ms. Moody, why don’t you just give me the answer?”  It makes me laugh because I realize that no I don’t make it easy by giving them the answer. I don’t mind because I know that the strategies that I teach students will help them in the long run. In this world of instant information, our teaching and learning methods MUST change.  Students, when they want to find out information, can get the knowledge immediately.  The way we gather information has changed so must our teaching methods. 2 Things to Realize about Inquiry-Based Lessons 1.In order for a student to desire knowledge they must first realize that they are lacking something: it could be a skill or a piece of knowledge that is required to complete a task.  When students realize that they NEED information for a task the higher the probability of knowledge retention.  Think: a teenager can memorize every detail of a video game but refuses to memorize science facts for their test.  This student has realized that they must know certain facts in order to complete a task that they are interested in, so they are much more motivated to find and remember the information. Don’t we want students to retain the information that we give them? Don’t we want them to be able to build skills in order for them to survive without us? 2. The second benefit to an inquiry-based lesson...