Posts Tagged ‘purpose’

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Teaching Email Courtesies

posted: 3.31.15 by Traci Gardner

I receive a lot of email from students. Sometimes it’s messages that I have requested, like links to their work. Other times, students are asking questions about assignments or telling me why they will miss class.

More often than not, these messages are not students’ best writing. I don’t care that the messages are informal. That’s fine with me. At times, however, they wander into telling me far more than I need or want to know. Worse yet, the messages can leave out the crucial details or attachments that would have made the message successful. [read more]

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Categories: Activity Idea, Audience, Classroom Challenges and Solutions, Purpose, Teaching with Technology, Traci Gardner
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The Value of a Real Audience and Purpose

posted: 12.5.13 by Traci Gardner

Students do better work when they are writing for a real audience and purpose. In the past, I’ve used assignments that ask students to write letters to the editor, to work in online forums that are read by everyone in the class, and reviews that are posted online. Students have a stronger understanding of their goals with these activities than they do when writing pieces with a less authentic audience, and as a result, I’ve had moderate success with them in the classroom. [read more]

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4.5 Minute Lesson on Audience, Purpose, and Voice

posted: 7.29.09 by Traci Gardner

Too many times I’ve seen students’ eyes glaze over when I explain how audience, purpose, and voice matter in composition. No more. From now on, I’ll let The Wicked Sick Project video take care of this lesson.

The short video, which Chris Boese shared on Facebook, shows two employees from Australian PR firm George Patterson Y&R who buy a generic bike on eBay and then write a new ad that sells the bike for 5 times what they paid for it. The only difference was the description of the bike in the eBay ad.

In their entry for PR Lions category of the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, the company explains their goal for the project:

Every advertising agency around the world is locked in a constant battle of creativity vs effectiveness. Some clients don’t believe in the value of a creative idea. Instead of just TELLING our clients that creativity works, we decided to PROVE it to them.

So the employees set off with the basic plan of “Show, Don’t Tell” and created a short video that documents their effort. The eBay ad that they created demonstrates a clear understanding of audience, purpose, and voice.

Here’s the video. It does include a couple of words used that the MPAA would label as “one of the harsher sexually-derived words,” and there’s a derogatory use of the word gay. I realize it won’t be appropriate for every classroom. That said, I would probably ask students to discuss why the employees included those problem words as part of the overall exploration of how the employees’ voice and choice of details builds their ethos with their audience.

The eBay ad is not the academic language of the classroom. It’s not even what I’d call great design for an online document (please, fewer lines in all caps!). That’s okay though. The ad wasn’t written for a college composition or professional writing assignment. It was written to sell a bike at a profit, and it does a stunning job of accomplishing that goal.

Show this video to students, and in 4.5 minutes, you’ll show them that shaping language for a particular audience and goal really does make a difference—in some cases, an especially profitable one!

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Categories: Popular Culture, Rhetorical Situation, Teaching with Technology
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From HOCs to LOCs

posted: 10.8.07 by Barclay Barrios

Help students see the relationship between Higher Order Concerns and Lower Order Concerns but directly connecting the two. Students should identify key sentences in their drafts that reflect their intentions in terms of audience, purpose, argument, development, and transition.

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Categories: Argument, Assignment Idea, Drafting
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