Teaching Points: A Persuasive Essay
Writing teaching points is a controversial topic in the class of Comm Arts; many people have differing opinions on how they should be written, or even if they should be written at all.There are people who say that writing teaching points in paragraph form is a marvelous choice because it will help students remember the teaching point and better understand the lesson.On the other hand, there are people who say that writing teaching points in paragraph form is a detrimental choice because writing them takes up time, does not help students and is not motivational.With that in mind, why should the way students write teaching points stay the same? Why should there be no change? Writing teaching points in paragraph form takes up time.
Four students were interviewed, and all of them said that writing and discussing teaching points takes from two to six minutes.Classes are approximately 70 minutes long, and the mini lessons usually take up from 20 to 30 minutes (with both the actual teaching and going to the carpet).This leaves students with 48 minutes of work time maximum, but it is usually less.Meanwhile, everyone is missing the obvious solution to this problem.If – instead of writing teaching points in paragraph form (which can take up ? of the page at the longest, therefore wasting valuable paper) – students write teaching points down in a bulleted list, it would save both time and space.If students did this, it would allow them to fine-tune their note taking.
It would also allow students to save time, making everyone happy: students would not have to write down an entire teaching point, and Mr. Haney and/or Ms. Sholtes could still give students teaching points.Many times, Mr. Haney and/or Ms. Sholtes tell students that there has been a lot of research done about writing down teaching points.
However, according to the article “Writing and Remembering: Why We Remember What We Write”1, it is not all about writing a paragraph down on command of a teacher.”What this and other tests suggest is that when we write — before we write, although indistinguishably so — we are putting some degree of thought into evaluating and ordering the information that we are receiving.That process, and not the notes themselves, is what helps fix ideas more firmly in our minds, leading to greater recall down the line.” If this is indeed true, then writing down teaching points in a bulleted list would work just fine.In fact, it would probably even help more.
Why? If the teaching point is shorter, rather than a whole paragraph, students are more willing to read and actually comprehend it.Currently, three out of the four students interviewed said that they do not comprehend the teaching point when writing it, and one student said that they sometimes comprehend the teaching point, but not always.In all honesty, that is 75% who are making a series of straight and curved lines on a sheet of valuable paper without comprehending what those strokes translate to, and 25% who sometimes comprehend what those strokes translate to.That evidence does not quite match up with the whole ‘teaching points in paragraph form are great’ line of thought.If students are going to write something down, they understand it.Teaching points in paragraph form are not doing that, leading to the train of thought that maybe they should not be written like that.
It would take up less valuable time.As one student said, “When I write [the teaching points] down, I don’t comprehend them because there really is no point if we are going to talk about it later.” Since Mr. Haney and/or Ms. Sholtes talk about and guide students through the teaching point anyway, it seems that there is really no point in taking up time that is better spent teaching, learning, or working.It was not just that one student, either.
Another student said much of the same thing when asked.”[The teaching points] aren’t very helpful.I feel like they are taking up valuable space in our notebooks and using five minutes to discuss the teaching points when the teacher is going to do exactly that a few minutes later is a waste of time.” In addition to taking up time, writing teaching points in paragraph form does not help the students.It takes up their time, hurts their hand, and makes them angry.While it may help Mr.
Haney and/or Ms. Sholtes know what the lesson is about and maybe how they will teach it, the teaching points does not do the same for students – not when they do not comprehend the meaning of the teaching point while writing it.Mr. Haney once said that students wrote down teaching points to look back at them later, but interviews with students quickly showed that many do not, in fact, do that.One student replied to the question by saying, “If I want to do a writing on it (which has happened once) I do, but I never go back to look at [the teaching points] otherwise.” Another student responded to the same question by saying, “Heck to the no.
Why would I? [The teaching points] so vague that they’re of no use to me.” Many other students echoed the latter line of thought.If a minimal amount of students only look back at the teaching point once or twice, then there is not a helpful factor to the teaching points.When many students never look back at the teaching points because they are not useful, then there is most definitely not a helpful factor to the teaching points.One might say that seeing the teaching point and writing it down is, in the long term, helpful for the students.
However, if the teaching points are not comprehended nor looked at, then one could argue that they are not very helpful at all.That is like saying a sword is helpful in a battle – a sword given to someone who does not know what a sword is, and who stored it away in their attic.If Mr. Haney and/or Ms. Sholtes want teaching points to be helpful, they would change the way teaching points are given to students. Furthermore, teaching points are not helpful (and therefore should change) because they bring down motivation in students.
“Fun has a positive effect on learners’ motivation levels, determining what we learn and how much information we retain,” says the article “Why Fun in Learning is Important”2.However, teaching points are not fun.Teaching points are not having a positive effect on learners’ motivation levels.If teaching points continue to be written in paragraph form, it will have a direct correlation to how much students take out of 7th grade Comm Arts.It is fairly obvious that many people do not think teaching points are fun.
“I hate them,” said one student, when asked how they felt about teaching points.Another answered the same question by saying, “I don’t understand why we do them.I don’t like them at all.It takes time away from doing writings.” From these two quotes, it seems that students do not like teaching points, nor find them fun.Therefore, based on the aforementioned evidence, it may be safe to assume that students’ motivation levels are low and they are not retaining much information.
If the goal of Mr. Haney and/or Ms. Sholtes is for their students to walk into 8th grade with loads of knowledge, then the way teaching points are written should change. It is true, however, that writing teaching points in paragraph form has some good sides.When students write the teaching point in paragraph form, it is easier to get all the thoughts meant to be in the teaching points written down.
Also, according to the slideshow “Benefits of Paragraph Writing”3, writing in paragraph form is actually beneficial for students.The slideshow said, “Mastering the structure of the paragraph will make you a better writer, make you a stronger thinker, and strengthen your skills as a reader and listener.” There is one catch: this slideshow is referring to paragraphs when the writers of the paragraphs comprehend and read the paragraphs.According to the previously mentioned evidence, there is not too many people who take the time to do that.One can, therefore, safely assume that while writing teaching points in paragraph form may appear marvelous, it really is not. To conclude: writing teaching points in paragraph form is a hotly debated topic because many people have differing opinions.However, teaching points should not be written in paragraph form because they take up time, are not helpful to students, and are not motivational.If there is such an easy solution to this dilemma, why do we continue to write teaching points in paragraph form?