Saturday, July 20, 2013

Effective Writing and Understanding for First Year College Students: The Writing Process

by Daniel K Zimmerman

It has been a struggle to learn how to write and in some instances, I still have no clue. Am I writing in first person or am I writing in passive tone?

I will tell you that I work with students on a daily basis that need assistance with their writing and not just understanding APA formatting but actual paragraph and sentence structure. I do not blame them at all but I do blame the educational system.

My goal is to give some quick hints to help students learn to effectively write so when they go into a classroom then can understand how to structure a paper.

Going into secondary education, there is an expectation of a particular level of competency that is needed, whether it is Math or English.

In this article we are going to look at the beginning of the writing process. The beginning you might ask? Is that just writing down some ideas and putting them into paragraph form? Nope, it is not.

In fact, there is a lot that goes into the writing process before the pen actually hits the paper. The topic that we are going to look at is the purpose of your paper.

Without the purpose of the paper, you basically have no direction, no goal and in essence are driving down the road with no idea of where you are going or why.

What the purpose of your paper will entail is either a topic that is handed down to you from your instructor such as "write and give examples of your management style" or it will be of your choosing.

Keep in mind that the goal of the purpose is to understand what you want to get accomplished in the paper and what kind of paper you want to write i.e. Informative paper or persuasive.

Next you need to know who your audience is going to be. If you are writing a paper on cooking meat products, you do not want to give this information to a group of vegetarians. In addition, this article might not be well suited for academics or authors that already understand the structure of writing.

Since I am gearing this article toward first year college students, I know my audience and I have identified my audience in the title of the paper. So often I run into students that give presentations that are not in the interest of the audience or are not relevant.

In addition, giving presentations in the work place, you need to know who you are talking too and presenting too.

Now we are into the planning stages of your assignments. Some keys to follow are to:

• Evaluate your assignment and read your directions
• Brainstorm ideas
• Other pre-writing strategies

Pay attention to the logistics of the assignments

• How much depth does the instructor expect?
• How much time do I have to complete this paper?
• How long does this paper have to be?
• What kind of research do I need?
• Am I interested in the topic?

This information presented should give you a great starting point with writing the paper. If you understand the logistics of the paper, which is usually the first barrier to overcome, you will do fine. The key is to read the directions and ask questions.

Daniel Zimmerman is an Online Success Coach at Colorado Technical University. In addition, he is currently working on his Ed.D designation in Organizational Leadership in Higher Education from Grand Canyon University.

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