What Students Benefit Through

When Amy Ivers visited my English 488 class to discuss the logistics of our classroom teaching, she mentioned that her students were very much involved in farming and football. Because of this, I ruminated on a way to make learning a thesis statement more relevant to a student who had this type of background. I decided to draw a parallel between a thesis statement and to a quarterback as well as to a John Deere tractor. In the outline I handed out to the students, I  wrote, “A good thesis is like a quarterback. The team needs him in order to make touchdowns, but he can’t do it without the support of his team. In the same way, in order to answer the question (or make touchdowns), you need to support your answer (the team supports the quarterback).  The other example I used was that “A good thesis is like a John Deere tractor. This powerful tractor can plow a field, but it can’t do it without diesel. In the same way, in order to answer the question (or plow fields, you need to support your answer (the way diesel supports the tractor). These parallels worked very well. When I handed out the outlines, I asked my group of 4 students how many lived on a farm. Two students replied that they did. I then asked how many of the students were involved in football. One student played football, while another two students played soccer (one student was involved in both farming and soccer).  When the students saw the link between thesis writing and an extracurricular that they enjoyed, they seemed to perk an interest in the subject. They readily volunteered to read out loud and were quick to fill out the organizer in a cogent and clear manner. I am very happy in this because the students’ disinterest  in writing was something I worried about.

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