Beginning at the beginning
On reflection, I thought it was only fair that I honour my ‘other life’, on this site. As an academic, I work with students in order that they can accomplish their learning and study goals, primarily achieved through successfully completing their assignments.
I completed Yr 11, way back last century, left school for a couple of years due to poor career advice, and then returned to undertake Yr 12 after deciding I wanted to give University a try anyway.
I started going to TAFE when I was in Yr 10, as I wanted to learn more about animal health and husbandry, my passion for the first part of my career years. 2017, is the first year since then that I have not enrolled in some form of study. However, this doesn’t mean I am not studying. This year, my spare time is spent studying the art of fiction writing. I subscribe to several weekly podcasts, blogs, and of course spend a lot of time reading.
I am not an expert in writing. I don’t have a solid grasp of all of the rules of writing either. What I do have, is perseverance and a thirst to learn.
Even though late in my life, I have to credit my PhD for providing the greatest learning of all, and it may not be what you expect. Yes, perseverance is a requirement, and which I demonstrated in spades, as I took nine full years to complete it part-time. My greatest learning was learning to accept, no, embrace, feedback. To be honest, I would receive feedback and then hide in my room for a couple of days, and sometimes even longer. I can’t remember the actual trigger that changed my thinking regarding feedback. It was probably one of my husbands many “you can do it” talks. He is my loudest cheerleader!
So, I learnt to embrace feedback. Here was some free, expert advice, to help me to improve my writing, my arguments, and my ability to reach my goals. To be honest, there is still that brief moment of angst, but it is very brief. Now the hardest part is working to improve my writing, every single time I put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard.
Everyone can improve their writing. I don’t doubt this for a moment. You can. My current work involves providing feedback to help students learn what they can do to improve their writing. Feedback helps them to be successful in their studies and therefore achieve their goals.
For instance, sometimes the most simple things are the most effective. I often have to start my feedback with “did you read this out loud?” Reading your work out loud is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your writing. If you hesitate or stumble over a word or phrase, look at it more closely. There was a reason you stumbled over it.
Put your investigator hat on and look at the sentence more critically. Say what you want the sentence to say out loud, then look at it again and see if it does say that, not just what you think it does. If you can’t ‘see’ anything wrong with it, ask someone else to read it for you.
As you improve your writing, this will get easier, but reading your work out loud is such a vital step in doing this and something many students fail to do despite repeated advice.
Do you have Grammarly installed? If not, do it right now. The basic version is free, and it will help you improve your writing straight away. The easier it is for someone to read you work, the more positively they will view it. Even if you have missed the point of an assignment, when marking 10, 20 or even 50+ papers on the same topic, the easier your paper is to read, the more positive our frame of mind.
Well, I think this is enough for today. I will talk to you again soon once you have installed Grammarly.
Now, time to read this out loud and make sure it sounds ok. Grammarly works in the background, so that box is ticked. J