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Archive for May 22nd, 2008

There are times when I’m just stunned.  A final paper should show what a student’s learned over the course of the semester.  So if the first paper in the term insists on using multiple primary and secondary sources of information and citing them properly, it just doesn’t look good if your final proposal doesn’t do anything of the sort. It instead leaves me with the feeling that you haven’t learned anything this semester, and maybe you should take this class again.  With someone else, thank you….

Similarly, if you are revising a paper at the end of the semester, and the original goal of said paper was to help high school students make a career decision, and you got a 60 on that first paper, maybe you’d avoid sentences in your revision that sound like this:

The ideology of salespeople has shifted from seeking out personal gain and closing quick sales to recognizing the importance of meeting the needs and satisfaction of customers by forming long-term business relationships.”

Really now…. There are high school students who know that Ideology is more than a house brand clothing line at Mays-owned department stores, but is there anything about this sentence that captures your attention and says “Hey, would you like to do this for a living”?

And then the student will be irritated that I’m not recognizing what a good writer he is, completely missing the connection between “meeting the needs and satisfaction of customers” and adapting his knowledge to the needs of the assigned audience for his paper.  But the fact is, the “goodness” of writing is largely governed by who that writing is meant to serve, entertain, or enlighten.  If you give me a short thesis on “The Modern Salesperson” for a business professor when I wanted a “Field Guide to Sales Careers” for a high school student, you aren’t going to get an A for your efforts.

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