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Writing skills

  1. Dec 10, 2009 #1


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    Hey there, I thought PF can be helpful in many fields other than sience. :biggrin: Here's the question:

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 10, 2009 #2
    Is this for their writing as in their "handwriting" or is it for grammar and such?
  4. Dec 11, 2009 #3


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    No, it has nothing to do with handwriting. The assignment is in a course called “text book analysis”, she chooses the book titled as “interactions/2 writing”, and as she described she want to analyze the writing skills of one chapter of that book and how they’re related to the exercises and activities of the book, any advice would be appreciated.
  5. Dec 12, 2009 #4
    Well I have never really done anything of this sort at all. In my opinion the best way to analyze it would be to use it as intended, preferably with multiple people, see how well they do, and then take their impressions regarding ease of use. Would this fit into the parameters of your assignment? or are you supposed to simply analyze it on your own?

    You might want to ask Chi or Moonie or maybe one of the others with teaching experience.
  6. Dec 12, 2009 #5


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    First it isn’t my assignment it’s my sister’s :biggrin: [that’s why I’ve quoted the question :wink:], she says your idea is a good one, it only needs more time to get it done. But thanks for the help :smile:
  7. Dec 12, 2009 #6
    You're welcome.

    You should tell your sis to sign up and ask her questions herself!

    Maybe she could use the screen name "dazzle" and we can have the sisters Drizzle & Dazzle. ;-p
  8. Dec 12, 2009 #7


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    Textbooks can be evaluated on a lot of levels, some of which can be a bit hard to quantify, and others that are a bit easier to nail down. When I was writing training manuals for industry, I had to edit my own work and I used several basic criteria:

    Reading comprehension level - even though my texts were aimed at adults in industrial settings, I tried very hard to stay at around a 7th-8th grade reading level.

    Limit jargon - it is easy for a subject-expert to throw words around without clarifying their meanings and usage properly. If you must use jargon, you should take time to define such words, either explicitly or by use in context. The same applies to colloquialisms and slang. Try to be precise.

    Stay in the active tense - nothing makes a text duller or less informative that writing in the passive tense. The verbiage gets convoluted and cause-and-effect are harder for the reader to grasp. For example: (passive) The mud drum is blown down periodically to flush solids out of the boiler. Blow-downs are done by the blow-down valve controller. (that didn't tell you much) (active) To prevent solids build-up in the boilerwater, the operator uses the automated blow-down valve controller and specifies the frequency of the frequency and duration of automatic blowdowns to evacuate solids from the mud drum. (in this case we know that the operator uses the controller, and what his options are for control of the blow-down valve - frequency and duration) This isn't the best example I could have give, perhaps, but it will do.

    Oganization - you should deliver content in "chunks" that make sense and hold together and "flow". If you have an odd piece of information or a minor clarification, it's OK to deliver that separately. Not everything has to be written in multi-sentence paragraphs. Textbooks are not prose. Writing about complex industrial systems was a breeze, because I could organize the material in terms of process-flow, and follow the path of a fuel, raw material, product, etc in a way that the operators understood intuitively.

    Drizzle, I have never had to analyze a book in terms of its value as source-material for teaching English as a second language, so your sis is on her own, there. The editing guidelines that I used should be applicable to analyzing a text-book, though. Just guessing, but I imagine that clarity is going to be a really important characteristic for a book that has to be used to teach English as a second language.

    Good luck to your sister.
  9. Dec 13, 2009 #8


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    Cheers turbo, I'm gonna send her an email of your post.

    Actually, I insisted her to join but she never liked the idea of joining net forums [like I used to :biggrin:]. I’ve told her this is different….couldn’t convince her though :grumpy:. But I’ve asked her to send her question via email and I’ll post it… I think she might change her mind after this, I’ll tell you if she does [but you’ll have to guess her name TSA :biggrin:]
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