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Essays are pathetic
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..V.. Offline
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Post: #1
Essays are pathetic

They show you how they want you to make it; the font, spacing, and everything. Even the topics.
How about they let us do what we want to do with our own essay?
Damn fascists.

10-09-2013 12:31 AM
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Night Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Essays are pathetic

You couldn't have put this and you other retarded topic... together?

You couldn't put some actual substance in it.

This is what I see when you post.

Complain complain complain complain, do absolutely NOTHING to type out a thought provoking topic. All you do is bitch and moan and complain about EVERYTHING.

Oh my fucking god.

And Don't give me this bullshit "I'm on a phone"
Blah blah blah blah. I could've written this entire post PLUS some on my phone. And I can guarantee my phone is a hell of a lot worse and slower than yours.

Why don't you fucking get off your ass and do something.
No, you rather bitch and moan because you want to use 16 size font and they want you to use 12. And then do NOTHING about it.

Bitch, moan, bitch, moan, bitch, moan.

Agh

I'm a girl ffffeck
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10-09-2013 04:26 AM
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Subb Offline
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Post: #3
Essays are pathetic

Night, chill. This isn't a place to fight with each other. This is a place to be heard. This is one of the only places where we can speak freely about school. We can't attack other users if we want that to continue.

V, I'm on here on my phone almost exclusively. You can write some good stuff on your phone, if you try.

Now that I got that out of the way, I kinda like the requirements. It tells you exactly what you need. That way, I can do the bare minimum of work needed. And I'll go over if I like the assignment.

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10-09-2013 04:39 AM
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brainiac3397 Offline
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Post: #4
Essays are pathetic

Essays do need some form of standardization. Like a military unit, you can't have everybody dressing any way they want. It has to be uniform, or it just becomes chaotic.

Though in my college Critical reading-writing class, the only work we'll ever do is write 4 essays and a final paper(I don't remember if there's any quizzes or test) and a project. That's basically it, so in class all we do is sit and listen to the professor summarize the readings we were supposed to read. Then we get a sheet with 5-6 questions(on a topic related to the various readings) and write the essay. So we'll have 4 topics to write on with questions pertaining to different readings related to that topic.

So in this case, the topic remains same but you still have the choice of picking what you want to write about from the options available.

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(06-14-2013 08:02 AM)Potato Wrote:  watch the fuq out, we've got an "intellectual" over here.

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10-09-2013 04:54 AM
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no Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Essays are pathetic

"Remember, intro-body-body-body-conclusion!!"

Makes me sick. Ever read a book that summarizes the entire story in the first chapter? No? And guess why that is.

Hello, traveler.

This is an ancient account I have not used in a long time. My views have changed much in the intervening months and years.

Nonetheless, I refuse to clean it up. Pretending that I've held my current views since the beginning of time is what we in the industry call a lie. Asking people to do so contributes to moralistic self-loathing. "See, those people have nothing damning! I do! I'm truly vile!"

Because you can never be a good person with a single blemish on the moral record, I thought that simply entertaining some thoughts made me irredeemable. Though I don't care for his writing style, William Faulkner presents a good counterexample. He went from being a typical Southern racist to supporting the civil rights movement. These days we'd yell at him for that, probably.

People are allowed to change their views.

Nevertheless, this period of my life has informed some of how I am today. In good ways and bad ways. To purge it would be to do a disservice to history. Perhaps it will not make anyone sympathetic, but it may help someone understand.

If, after reading all this, you still decide to use the post above as evidence that I am evil today, ask yourself if you have never disagreed with the moral code you now follow. In all likelihood you did, at some point. If some questions are verboten, and the answer is "how dare you ask that," don't expect your ideological opponents to ever change their minds.
10-09-2013 07:24 AM
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vonunov Offline
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RE: Essays are pathetic

Because books aren't essays? Sometimes it really is just about the destination instead of the journey. I think it's great if they're pushing an inverted pyramid format, especially in this age of writing for the web.
10-09-2013 07:29 AM
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brainiac3397 Offline
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Post: #7
Essays are pathetic

Isn't essay writing simply logic?

You don't start a speech with a conclusion, then go to the intro, then continue and end with the body. Essays aren't stories, they're written discussions. Hence, they follow a specific form meant to be logically followed and easily dissected for further debate(debate the intro, or a body, or the conclusion). It's simple organization.

Stories on the other hand try to recreate life. Characters need to be made from scratch and given life, the setting has to be made into existence, the actions have to flow like time.(Further supports my theory that all humans want to be God, whether they know it or not. Or we all have an aspect of a God to us, whichever is your pick)

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(06-14-2013 08:02 AM)Potato Wrote:  watch the fuq out, we've got an "intellectual" over here.

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10-09-2013 07:37 AM
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no Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Essays are pathetic

(10-09-2013 07:29 AM)Jack Wrote:  Because books aren't essays? Sometimes it really is just about the destination instead of the journey. I think it's great if they're pushing an inverted pyramid format, especially in this age of writing for the web.

This isn't specific to the inverted pyramid, which by the way I think works wonders in some situations. It's the fact that this is the only kind of writing that is taught. Also, the concept of quantity over quality -- a lot of teachers will give a long essay of drivel and wasted words a higher score than a few short paragraphs that efficiently argue a point.

Hello, traveler.

This is an ancient account I have not used in a long time. My views have changed much in the intervening months and years.

Nonetheless, I refuse to clean it up. Pretending that I've held my current views since the beginning of time is what we in the industry call a lie. Asking people to do so contributes to moralistic self-loathing. "See, those people have nothing damning! I do! I'm truly vile!"

Because you can never be a good person with a single blemish on the moral record, I thought that simply entertaining some thoughts made me irredeemable. Though I don't care for his writing style, William Faulkner presents a good counterexample. He went from being a typical Southern racist to supporting the civil rights movement. These days we'd yell at him for that, probably.

People are allowed to change their views.

Nevertheless, this period of my life has informed some of how I am today. In good ways and bad ways. To purge it would be to do a disservice to history. Perhaps it will not make anyone sympathetic, but it may help someone understand.

If, after reading all this, you still decide to use the post above as evidence that I am evil today, ask yourself if you have never disagreed with the moral code you now follow. In all likelihood you did, at some point. If some questions are verboten, and the answer is "how dare you ask that," don't expect your ideological opponents to ever change their minds.
10-09-2013 10:04 AM
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vonunov Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Essays are pathetic

I'm sure Sir Ernest Gowers turns in his grave to see modern English classes. =@

If it seems like that's the only kind of writing they teach, maybe they aren't being clear about the scope of the course. In higher education there's division between composition, rhetoric, literature, creative writing, and so on. I don't remember now how it went in high school (and I wasn't there for the whole thing anyway), but I imagine it's all categorized similarly. I seem to recall a lack of variety, though. If they're asking you to write fiction in a five-paragraph essay, I think something is wrong, but what you've said so far sounds fine, the only problem being an unfair comparison between different domains.

Yeah, they do favor quantity sometimes. I was the guy who took full advantage of that. Remembered the essay or "journal" or whatever that was due next period, vomited words onto the page, turned in the first draft, and got an A pretty much because I can string a good sentence together without trying too hard. It was glorious. I didn't know anything then about economy of words, but it seems to have turned out all right.

I'm now in favor of concision and leaving the reader some work to do (fun to have?), but I just spelled everything out in school. It's a great way to pad essays and makes it look like you give a shit.

I don't really know how to get on board with the OP here, though. I can definitely see the point of formatting requirements, if only because, left unchecked, high school students will use Papyrus a lot more often than some of them are willing to admit. On the other hand, it's nice not to have them too rigid. The cool instructors will ask you to use a reasonable font face in 12 point or so, just nothing that's going to be a pain to read. But here's the question: Are they enforcing formatting requirements because that's what they're used to seeing in the working world, or are they doing it to insidiously prepare you for your life as an office drone? :o ö o:

Yeah, I don't know. Despite the reasons, it sucks to feel limited in your creative expression and all that. This is why we all had blogs. We made regrettable design decisions and wrote about whatever we wanted, and when we were feeling especially rebellious, we even used singular "they". Stick it to the man!
(This post was last modified: 10-09-2013 10:29 AM by vonunov.)
10-09-2013 10:22 AM
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brainiac3397 Offline
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Post: #10
Essays are pathetic

You can never write a perfect essay. Like you can't create a perfect circle.

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(06-14-2013 08:02 AM)Potato Wrote:  watch the fuq out, we've got an "intellectual" over here.

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10-09-2013 10:41 AM
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RE: Essays are pathetic

(10-09-2013 10:22 AM)Jack Wrote:  I'm sure Sir Ernest Gowers turns in his grave to see modern English classes. =@

I'd never heard of him, so I looked him up. Interesting fellow.

(10-09-2013 10:22 AM)Jack Wrote:  If it seems like that's the only kind of writing they teach, maybe they aren't being clear about the scope of the course. In higher education there's division between composition, rhetoric, literature, creative writing, and so on. I don't remember now how it went in high school (and I wasn't there for the whole thing anyway), but I imagine it's all categorized similarly. I seem to recall a lack of variety, though. If they're asking you to write fiction in a five-paragraph essay, I think something is wrong, but what you've said so far sounds fine, the only problem being an unfair comparison between different domains.

There is some division, but in all grades below eleven the definite focus is on formulaic writing for a state test -- which ironically does not mention any specific format in its rubric, but nevertheless the same formula is taught in all schools.

My dictionary defines "essay" as "a short piece of writing on a particular subject." Why does this necessarily require a particular format? Yes, it's dumb to put an introduction at the end, but getting upset over the fact that someone split a point into more than one paragraph, or that the evidence all sort of flows together instead of being divided into discrete points is just ridiculous.

(10-09-2013 10:22 AM)Jack Wrote:  Yeah, they do favor quantity sometimes. I was the guy who took full advantage of that. Remembered the essay or "journal" or whatever that was due next period, vomited words onto the page, turned in the first draft, and got an A pretty much because I can string a good sentence together without trying too hard. It was glorious. I didn't know anything then about economy of words, but it seems to have turned out all right.

I have a hard time writing padding for the "X paragraphs of Y sentences each, or else!" crowd. I end up repeating myself, sounding very boring, or saying things that are outright false. I can write with quantity without sacrificing quality if I put some personality into it, usually humor or anger of some description, but the readers of my essays tend to view those as weaknesses.

(10-09-2013 10:22 AM)Jack Wrote:  I'm now in favor of concision and leaving the reader some work to do (fun to have?), but I just spelled everything out in school. It's a great way to pad essays and makes it look like you give a shit.

Sometimes I do this in conversations. Turns out that the things I assume people to know are too high of expectations. Such as my parents knowing aspects of my personality that I have told them in clear, precise words. They just... ignore the fact that I have any beliefs. Or, they don't understand plain English. "I believe that compulsory school is wrong." "Hold on, are you saying that people shouldn't have to go to school if they don't want to?" Is that not what I just said? Am I speaking Martian and it just sounds like English to me?

Hello, traveler.

This is an ancient account I have not used in a long time. My views have changed much in the intervening months and years.

Nonetheless, I refuse to clean it up. Pretending that I've held my current views since the beginning of time is what we in the industry call a lie. Asking people to do so contributes to moralistic self-loathing. "See, those people have nothing damning! I do! I'm truly vile!"

Because you can never be a good person with a single blemish on the moral record, I thought that simply entertaining some thoughts made me irredeemable. Though I don't care for his writing style, William Faulkner presents a good counterexample. He went from being a typical Southern racist to supporting the civil rights movement. These days we'd yell at him for that, probably.

People are allowed to change their views.

Nevertheless, this period of my life has informed some of how I am today. In good ways and bad ways. To purge it would be to do a disservice to history. Perhaps it will not make anyone sympathetic, but it may help someone understand.

If, after reading all this, you still decide to use the post above as evidence that I am evil today, ask yourself if you have never disagreed with the moral code you now follow. In all likelihood you did, at some point. If some questions are verboten, and the answer is "how dare you ask that," don't expect your ideological opponents to ever change their minds.
10-09-2013 11:03 AM
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xcriteria Offline
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RE: Essays are pathetic

(10-09-2013 11:03 AM)planetfall666 Wrote:  My dictionary defines "essay" as "a short piece of writing on a particular subject." Why does this necessarily require a particular format? Yes, it's dumb to put an introduction at the end, but getting upset over the fact that someone split a point into more than one paragraph, or that the evidence all sort of flows together instead of being divided into discrete points is just ridiculous.

Exactly. They key is that what's being written communicates something effectively. I've learned a lot more by writing walls of text in conversational contexts, than writing standardized essays. I never could figure out how to write with most of the prompts school provided.

(10-09-2013 10:22 AM)Jack Wrote:  Yeah, they do favor quantity sometimes. I was the guy who took full advantage of that. Remembered the essay or "journal" or whatever that was due next period, vomited words onto the page, turned in the first draft, and got an A pretty much because I can string a good sentence together without trying too hard. It was glorious. I didn't know anything then about economy of words, but it seems to have turned out all right.

Economy of words. I've learned a few lessons about that writing my walls of text. Really, I've learned more interacting online than in much of school, especially now that I've been interacting with educators and here on School Survival. I certainly have a ways to go... but it's better to be doing engaged learning, and sometimes getting meaningful feedback, then what I've generally experienced in school.

(10-09-2013 11:03 AM)planetfall666 Wrote:  Sometimes I do this in conversations. Turns out that the things I assume people to know are too high of expectations. Such as my parents knowing aspects of my personality that I have told them in clear, precise words. They just... ignore the fact that I have any beliefs. Or, they don't understand plain English. "I believe that compulsory school is wrong." "Hold on, are you saying that people shouldn't have to go to school if they don't want to?" Is that not what I just said? Am I speaking Martian and it just sounds like English to me?

This is one of the big challenges of writing for an audience. How do you know what their background knowledge, or frame of reference, or set of mental filters is? This requires interaction and two-way conversation. Just writing and publishing stuff, traditionally, hasn't resulted in much of that... just like, traditionally, turning in papers in school hasn't traditionally resulted in a two-way conversation where you learn more about the person reading your papers. (Not to mention the people sitting next to you.)

This is why learning via online conversations has so much potential... at least when multiple people learn to write in depth, and have the patience to read in depth. (Of course, concision has value, but sometimes writing at some length can be useful for getting ideas out... at least for me. If things are unreadable, feedback is better than silence... but we're usually trained that feedback is only something teachers provide. Why can't we all be teachers and learners?)

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10-09-2013 11:48 AM
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RE: Essays are pathetic

(10-09-2013 07:37 AM)brainiac3397 Wrote:  Isn't essay writing simply logic?

You don't start a speech with a conclusion, then go to the intro, then continue and end with the body. Essays aren't stories, they're written discussions. Hence, they follow a specific form meant to be logically followed and easily dissected for further debate(debate the intro, or a body, or the conclusion). It's simple organization.

Stories on the other hand try to recreate life. Characters need to be made from scratch and given life, the setting has to be made into existence, the actions have to flow like time.(Further supports my theory that all humans want to be God, whether they know it or not. Or we all have an aspect of a God to us, whichever is your pick)

I think essays, written conversations, and stories can be combined in different ways. A story can contain an essay-like conversational fragment ("a wall of text," "a speech") said by a character. Meanwhile, the "wall of text" or 'essay" can potentially cite the speaker's story, or some other story, which is then linked to a conclusion.

On top of that, people can do more to explain their thinking and beliefs, whether it's through essay, story, or some combination. When people talk about how they interpret the world, and experience things mentally, others can learn how to write (or speak) in ways that are more comprehensible, interesting, and productive... at least "in theory."

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RE: Essays are pathetic

(10-09-2013 12:31 AM)..V.. Wrote:  How about they let us do what we want to do with our own essay?

The simple solution there is write in more length in other contexts, like here on the forums. (Yes, people will scream "wall of text," but then you can say, "give me feedback," like I try to do. If we're not getting good assignments and feedback in school, we have to find or create them somehow, or how will any of us learn?

As for what's wrong with school, consider asking questions and negotiating other formats... might or might not be possible, depending on your teachers and school.

(10-09-2013 04:26 AM)Night Wrote:  You couldn't have put this and you other retarded topic... together?

You couldn't put some actual substance in it.

This is what I see when you post.

Complain complain complain complain, do absolutely NOTHING to type out a thought provoking topic. All you do is bitch and moan and complain about EVERYTHING.

Night, I understand where you're coming from there. Maybe you could have used a bit more supportive tone. Smile But... better to start somewhere than nowhere.

This leads to a big problem I see. Lots of complaining... teachers and students alike... but not enough re-inventing education. Let's figure out solutions, do things differently, and find new ways to learn... especially when it comes to writing and communicating, and figuring out where others are coming from, and sharing our stories.

This is the only way anything will change.

Some of the conversations here are great starts, but then things get buried. How can we develop a learning community... and model a different way of doing education, then go out and promote it, rather than just complaining and coping with things as they are?

Here's an example of a model some people are using: DIY MFA... all you need to do is: write with focus, read with purpose, and build your community



Watch on YouTube

Why not implement some of that here... or find some tools (like the Udemy course I'm putting together, or the new G+ community) to build an alternative to learning in school?

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RE: Essays are pathetic

I got a discussion going, which was the point of this thread. I have something that could be discussed, then I enjoy reading what others say.
Also, it doesn't help that I have OCD, which stops me from typing some things and words.

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10-09-2013 12:58 PM
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Essays are pathetic

The real problem with essays is not as much the essay itself, but the way it's done. A teacher assignees an essay, (usually on a book you recently read, or some recent event) the teacher demands: that you say certain things in that essay, how long the essay will be, what kind of font (or handwriting), what words you can use. Then the teacher complains about it, saying you have bad grammar, handwriting, spelling. "You didn't explain this well enough" or "You use this word a few times too many" Then when you just don't do the essay, the teacher punishes you.

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10-09-2013 02:19 PM
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RE: Essays are pathetic

(10-09-2013 11:03 AM)planetfall666 Wrote:  I'd never heard of him, so I looked him up. Interesting fellow.

Yep. I recommend reading The Complete Plain Words, bearing in mind that it's written for public servants communicating with the everyman—he makes such wonderfully pithy points that it's hard not to take it as a general style guide.

It doesn't look like there are any copies on the trackers I have, but it's cheap on Amazon.
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10-09-2013 03:01 PM
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RE: Essays are pathetic

(10-09-2013 12:07 PM)xcriteria Wrote:  The simple solution there is write in more length in other contexts, like here on the forums. (Yes, people will scream "wall of text," but then you can say, "give me feedback," like I try to do. If we're not getting good assignments and feedback in school, we have to find or create them somehow, or how will any of us learn?

UNMATCHED LEFT PARENTHESIS!

http://xkcd.com/859/

Hello, traveler.

This is an ancient account I have not used in a long time. My views have changed much in the intervening months and years.

Nonetheless, I refuse to clean it up. Pretending that I've held my current views since the beginning of time is what we in the industry call a lie. Asking people to do so contributes to moralistic self-loathing. "See, those people have nothing damning! I do! I'm truly vile!"

Because you can never be a good person with a single blemish on the moral record, I thought that simply entertaining some thoughts made me irredeemable. Though I don't care for his writing style, William Faulkner presents a good counterexample. He went from being a typical Southern racist to supporting the civil rights movement. These days we'd yell at him for that, probably.

People are allowed to change their views.

Nevertheless, this period of my life has informed some of how I am today. In good ways and bad ways. To purge it would be to do a disservice to history. Perhaps it will not make anyone sympathetic, but it may help someone understand.

If, after reading all this, you still decide to use the post above as evidence that I am evil today, ask yourself if you have never disagreed with the moral code you now follow. In all likelihood you did, at some point. If some questions are verboten, and the answer is "how dare you ask that," don't expect your ideological opponents to ever change their minds.
10-09-2013 08:20 PM
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xcriteria Offline
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RE: Essays are pathetic

(10-09-2013 08:20 PM)planetfall666 Wrote:  UNMATCHED LEFT PARENTHESIS!

)

Matched.

You left another one in my quote.

)

Now that's matched, too. Biggrin

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10-09-2013 11:26 PM
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Aidaedalus Offline
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RE: Essays are pathetic


My teacher gave me a zero because i didn't double-space my essay.
I don't understand how double-spacing affects the content of the essay at all Huh
but whatever.
Shit done already.
10-10-2013 12:20 PM
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brainiac3397 Offline
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Essays are pathetic

I always thought double spacing was so the teacher can squeeze in their corrections and notes and what-not.

I wonder how many teachers are aware of this though...

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(06-14-2013 08:02 AM)Potato Wrote:  watch the fuq out, we've got an "intellectual" over here.

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10-10-2013 02:03 PM
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RashedMohamed Offline
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Essays are pathetic

The essays nowadays are important part of any educational process worldwide. The essay written by student is one’s key to the education, the key which is being verified by professor on its validity to the lock of educational degree.

Essays are required for law and literature, language and history.

Essays.AE - Your Regional Essay Customization Bureau
10-11-2013 04:25 PM
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xcriteria Offline
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RE: Essays are pathetic

(10-10-2013 12:20 PM)Aidaedalus Wrote:  
My teacher gave me a zero because i didn't double-space my essay.
I don't understand how double-spacing affects the content of the essay at all Huh
but whatever.

Yeah, really. It can be worth learning how to format things in the way people want them, but not doing that right doesn't mean your content should be ignored. Post your essay here, if you want, and we'll give you more than a zero.

(10-11-2013 04:25 PM)RashedMohamed Wrote:  The essays nowadays are important part of any educational process worldwide. The essay written by student is one’s key to the education, the key which is being verified by professor on its validity to the lock of educational degree.

I think mini-essays (walls of text), when done well, could be a better way to learn. In particular, when people exchange (short, well-written, and self-reflective) walls of text and links, learning can occur in a way that just isn't possible with a one-way "student-writes-essay" and "teacher marks up the formatting" style of learning process.

Why doesn't the teacher write essays for the students, and the students lecture the teacher in response? Instead, the closest thing is speech class, where the speeches are yet another assignment, not part of an organic process of communication.

Time to change that. Jeff Bliss should get speech credit for his monologue, for example.

How? People can build portfolios of their work and actions, in or out of school... post content to YouTube, forums, blogs, etc., and then use that as a library of material to demonstrate proficiency.

Why must everything be boxed into single-subject classes and assignments?

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10-11-2013 05:56 PM
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Post: #24
RE: Essays are pathetic

вιтcн pleαѕe ιғ ι wαɴɴα тype lιĸe тнιѕ ғor мy eѕѕαy ι ɢod dαмɴ wιll. тнe ғorмαт, ѕpαcιɴɢ, ғoɴт, or ѕιze doeѕɴ'т мαттer. eveɴ тнe leɴɢтн oғ тнe eѕѕαy doeѕɴ'т мαттer. wнαт мαттerѕ ιѕ тнe coɴтeɴт oғ тнe eѕѕαy αɴd wнαт yoυ αcтυαlly leαrɴed. ιғ ι тype тнe eхαcт wαy ι αм ɴow oɴ αɴ eѕѕαy ι ɴαιled, ι eхpecт αɴ α. jυѕт вecαυѕe ιт'ѕ ɴoт "proғeѕѕιoɴαl" or 5000 wordѕ loɴɢ doeѕɴ'т мeαɴ ιт'ѕ ɴoт αɴ αмαzιɴɢ reαd, αɴd тнαт'ѕ тнαт

"ʏᴏᴜ’ʀᴇ ᴜɴᴅᴇʀ ɴᴏ ᴏʙʟɪɢᴀᴛɪᴏɴ ᴛᴏ ʙᴇ ᴛʜᴇ sᴀᴍᴇ ᴘᴇʀsᴏɴ ʏᴏᴜ ωᴇʀᴇ ғɪᴠᴇ ᴍɪɴᴜᴛᴇs ᴀɢᴏ."
10-12-2013 01:28 AM
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xcriteria Offline
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RE: Essays are pathetic

Haha, DL. That would be painful to read if it was much longer, even if the content is amazing.

How about just put the text in a readable font as an Amazon Kindle book and charge for it... if you want to make people work to read your brilliant ideas. Smile

Then again, it can be tough to get people to read even an "amazing read," even when you put it right in front of them in the most interesting format possible. How many essays really get read and responded to... vs. just skimmed for formatting and graded?

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10-12-2013 03:15 AM
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Ky Offline
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RE: Essays are pathetic

(10-09-2013 12:58 PM)..V.. Wrote:  I got a discussion going, which was the point of this thread. I have something that could be discussed, then I enjoy reading what others say.
Also, it doesn't help that I have OCD, which stops me from typing some things and words.
A discussion is a thoughtful conversation. YOU have a complaint.

Listen, as much as I hate essays, you're really preaching to the choir here. It would be nice if we could invent new qualms or even praises of the current system. That discussion, I would very much like to be a part of.

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10-12-2013 06:22 AM
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xcriteria Offline
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RE: Essays are pathetic

(10-12-2013 06:22 AM)DoA Wrote:  A discussion is a thoughtful conversation. YOU have a complaint.

Listen, as much as I hate essays, you're really preaching to the choir here. It would be nice if we could invent new qualms or even praises of the current system. That discussion, I would very much like to be a part of.

Why not focus on building better ways to facilitate meaningful learning?

New qualms and complaints, sure, but we have a good outline of the issues by this point. Beyond that, many more people are realizing things need to change, and many are interested in changing things. They just don't know what to do.

Let's change the discussion to exploring the thoughts of some of those people, interact with them, and learn how to better learn in general. Does that sounds like a worthwhile conversation?

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10-12-2013 11:46 AM
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Ky Offline
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RE: Essays are pathetic

(10-12-2013 11:46 AM)xcriteria Wrote:  
(10-12-2013 06:22 AM)DoA Wrote:  A discussion is a thoughtful conversation. YOU have a complaint.

Listen, as much as I hate essays, you're really preaching to the choir here. It would be nice if we could invent new qualms or even praises of the current system. That discussion, I would very much like to be a part of.

Why not focus on building better ways to facilitate meaningful learning?

New qualms and complaints, sure, but we have a good outline of the issues by this point. Beyond that, many more people are realizing things need to change, and many are interested in changing things. They just don't know what to do.

Let's change the discussion to exploring the thoughts of some of those people, interact with them, and learn how to better learn in general. Does that sounds like a worthwhile conversation?

Quite. More to the thread's 'subject', what can we do about essays, specifically? Does the stupidity of a teacher's lesson plan like this warrant action with such negative stigma as cheating? Are there means of avoiding most work involved in such a ludicrous means of assignment? Is essay-writing just something that you have to go through?

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10-13-2013 01:36 AM
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RE: Essays are pathetic

(10-13-2013 01:36 AM)DoA Wrote:  Quite. More to the thread's 'subject', what can we do about essays, specifically? Does the stupidity of a teacher's lesson plan like this warrant action with such negative stigma as cheating? Are there means of avoiding most work involved in such a ludicrous means of assignment? Is essay-writing just something that you have to go through?

Good questions. One way of discussing them is to step back and think about lesson plans and assignments in general. What are they for? Are they worth doing? Could the whole process be done better?

I think one of the best ways to transform education -- and transform personal learning -- is to understand the thought process behind what teachers do. Just like "hacking" in the sense of tinkering with things, figuring how they work, and getting them to work differently, the whole process of facilitating learning can be teased apart and rebuilt as needed.

I've been fortunate enough to find my way to discussions with educators, thanks in part to this Designing a New Learning Environment MOOC I participated in. As a result, I'm learning a lot more about how teachers think, from a "how can I help students to learn?" perspective, than in the past.

It takes a shift in perspective to actually put yourself in a teacher's shoes, rather than just complaining. If an assignment doesn't make sense, why not? What learning objectives is it meant to accomplish -- and, do they make sense?

If the learning objectives make sense (the new "mental schema" you're supposed to gain by doing the task), but the assignment is objectionable, what would make for a better assignment?

Some teachers might be open to feedback. As far as I can tell, students very rarely try this... in part because they don't speak the language of teachers. However, this language is now far more accessible than ever, as various courses for teachers are now available for free online, and many teachers are blogging and discussing teaching strategies and struggles on the web.

By coming to understand some of that background, the door can be opened to communicating with teachers. If they're not open to conversations, it's always possible to write an open letter, or open lesson to teachers, analyzing their lessons and assignments, with the language and concepts to back up your critique, and a proposed alternative.

This, rather than protesting with signs, is the path toward transforming education that I see.

Personally, as much as I take issue with what often happens in school (and my own wasted time there), the bigger problem I see is how to go about learning effectively in or out of school. To circle back to the subject of this thread, I think that learning to write is an important and useful skill. What about all of you?

Is the problem writing assignments in general, or is it essays in particular?

Or, is the problem simply having assignments?

If we, as people who question school-as-usual, come up with a better way to learn, and demonstrate mastery of various skills, like writing, I think a lot of teachers, administrators, and Powers That Be in general would be happy to see what we come up with, and find ways to provide credit for that learning.

At the very least, employers and clients who, at the end of the day, pay people, would be happy to see people with more skills, knowledge, and drive than what they often find coming out of school-as-usual.

Thoughts? I'd give you all assignments with word counts if I thought it'd work, but I highly doubt it. Razz

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