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McGill University
Curriculum and Instruction
EDEC 203
Jon Bradley

EDEC 203 – Communication in Education – J. Bradley Fall 2012 1: WRITING AND THINKING Initial Strategies  ask yourself: o what is the purpose of this piece of writing? o what is the reader like?  think about the purpose o to show your knowledge of a topic/text o to show you understand certain terms or theories o to show that you can do independent research o to show that you can apply a specific theory to new material o to demonstrate your ability to evaluate secondary sources o to show that you can think critically or creatively  think about the reader o to convince the reader you must consider their way of thinking (ie/ type of prof) o terms, background information, details, etc. will all vary o don’t know who’s reading it? imagine someone intelligent, knowledgeable & interested  think about the length o also think about how much paper is worth  think about the tone o casual vs. formal o how formal depends on kind of assignment & instructions o use of slang  frequent slang not acceptable in academic writing since usually regional & short lived  can mean different things to different people o excessive use of first person pronouns  use I when stating opinion backed by evidence  if you want to use I, it is less noticeable in the middle of a sentence o frequent use of contradictions  not suitable for academic writing Guidelines for Writing  think about audience  be clear about subject & purpose  define terms  include only relevant material; don’t pad writing to achieve certain number of words  strive for consistency of expression throughout work  make sure you’re accurate in all statements, analysis, presentations of data & documentation of sources  order information logically  be simple & clear in expressing ideas  make sure argument is coherent  draw conclusions clearly based on evidence  allow self lots of time to work on drafts  edit & proofread carefully EDEC 203 – Communication in Education – J. Bradley Fall 2012 Using Bias-Free Language  don’t use language that demeans anyone & is free of terms that have derogatory connotation  don’t use roundabout language ie/ economically disadvantaged when you mean poor  be sensitive about gender, religion, race, culture, etc.  gender o common problem: use of he as a singular plural o use an, he or she or they instead o use flight attendant, server & firefighter instead of stewardess, waitress & fireman  race & culture o words describing race/culture can have negative connotations o also about being politically correct – seniors not old people 3: WRITING A BOOK REPORT The Informative Book Report  purpose: to summarize book briefly & coherently  doesn’t say anything about reaction to the work  must separate what’s important and what is not  reading the book o determine author’s purpose o skim-read the book first  shows what author thinks is important o reread carefully & take notes nd  only take notes 2 time you’ve read  condense ideas in notes in your own words  writing the report o identify primary & secondary ideas  give the same relative emphasis the author does o follow book’s order of presentation o follow logical chain of the arguments o include key evidence supporting author’s arguments o tailor length to fit your needs o read & revise your report to make sure it’s coherent  use linking words/phrases to create flow & have logical development  use careful paragraph division o edit your report carefully o include publication details  publisher, place & date of publication, number of pages must appear somewhere The Analytic Book Report  purpose: summarizes main ideas of book & evaluates them  publication details normally at beginning  introduction o provide background information for reader  summary o can’t analyze book without discussing contents EDEC 203 – Communication in Education – J. Bradley Fall 2012 o present condensed version of books content in separate section as evaluation, or evaluation as you present ideas  evaluation o job not to interpret content of book o indicate strengths & weaknesses o review the book they actually wrote, not the one you wish they had written The Literary Review  variation of analytic book report  term literary refers to style of review rather than material discussed  review should stand on its own merit as attractive piece of writing  give freedom in content & presentation  may emphasize any aspect you like  purpose: to provide graceful introduction to work based on personal assessment of most intriguing features  don’t make it too personal  usually less comprehensive  reinforce comments with specific details from book  concrete examples add authenticity & life to the review 6: USING ILLUSTRATIONS Introduction  info in illustration should expand on/complement information in text, not duplicate it  simple illustrations better  make the title reflect point of illustration, not just the topic  refer to every illustration in text Tables  allows you to show precise data more clearly than graph/chart  use with data too detailed/complex for chart Charts  line charts o show changes over period of time o used to point out trends/fluctuations o quantities on vertical axis, time values on horizontal axis o don’t’ distort graph to emphasize a point  bar charts o used to compare elements at fixed
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