“Humanizing” Our Writing


“Easy reading is damn hard writing” Nathaniel Hawthorne
“Difficult reading is always a form of the writer’s ego to show off his credibility, which is not needed by the readers” – Syayid Sandi Sukandi

This post has been discussed in one of my classes in Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. It turns out that I even fall in love with writing. “The more I read, the more easier how to understand my writing is. The more I discuss with open-minded people, the more I can feel what the magnificent use of writing is” – Syayid Sandi Sukandi, A Fulbright Scholar of English

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To those of you who love to write, putting your ideas into writing would seem to be easy to do, especially when you have gained a lot of experiences in writing and jotting down your ideas into a meaningful piece of text. However, sometimes, before writing something, please ask yourself these questions, “Why should I write? What is it for?”

The questions of “Where are my readers? Who are they?” are connected with “Why should I write? What is it for?” These four questions are actually connected with the essence of the purpose of why we write. This is where the process of humanizing writing starts. From a novice writer into an advanced one, readers are always involved in certain ways. Peter Elbow, a distinguish Professor of English in the United States has stated that someone may write well, even without a teacher. It does not mean that the person does not need a teacher. What it actually means is that the teacher is only a facilitator. The one who should write more is the person him or herself. Understanding grammar well is not enough if someone wants to write well for the readers, except for him or herself per se. If you could answer the two questions above, you will have a sense of to whom your writing will be intended. In other words, your writing will have a purpose. Eventually, your writing will likely be successful.

Therefore, writing something complicated by using an easier written expression, help the readers understand our writing well. Briefly, specific words are for specific readers. As Georges Gusdorf mentions in his book, Speaking (La Parole), translated by Paul T. Brockelman in 1965, p.44, “…language cannot justify anything and everything. It is up to each person to assure the responsibility for his own language by searching for the ‘right word’”. Words will work better if the words can work well in the mind of the readers. If the readers do not have the same meaning as what the writer perceive about the word, the use of the word will create chaos in the mind of the readers. Eventually, what happens is, your writing becomes useless and meaningless. You don’t want that happens, do you? Or, after you wrote something, and suddenly said, “That’s it! I am done!” Is that all? In fact, writing is more than that.

What about writing for public? Writing for a larger audience? If you are a native speaker of English, what about writing for second language speakers of English? The specific “form” of language is used for specific “purposes”; even English has its specific form that is known as English for Specific Purposes. Namely, there are several words that can only be used within the context of business. For instance, “The bank has set its interest rates”. The word “interest” here is not the same as it is found in, “She interests me”. Consequently, we need to adhere that the words we use in expressing our ideas should be properly chosen for the readers. If you speak or write something interesting in your mind, but your listeners or readers do not understand what you are saying, the communication turns into a deathly hollow. Yudhijit Bhattacharjee mentioned in his writing Why Billinguals are Smarter in New York Times, “Nobody ever doubt the power of language. But who would have imagined that the words we hear and the sentences we speak might be leaving such a deep imprint?” Then, the question is, “Will a writer’s work be read if the writer writes with words that people rarely use?”

To make it brief, it can be stated in this simple phrase, “Think deeply; write simply”. Whatever we write in our writings, always consider the readers. Making our thoughts easier is a lot more useful than making it complicated for people. In this digital world, writing has become a life-style. Readers are the people whom our writings will take us to the next level. Humanizing writing sounds a pretty good thing to do by everyone, if they are in need of being understood well in this enchanting world.

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“A student without having an ability to show his or her credibility in an appropriate occasions will look like never learning anything” – Syayid Sandi Sukandi 

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Characteristic of professional educator


Characteristic of professional educator

Ihsan Ade Mista

Nowadays, the need of education is getting higher and higher. People realize that education is very needed so that they try as well as possible to get the best education although they spend more money for it. Then, as the need increases, most educators just care about the money they will get that it eliminates their professionalization and responsibility to educate and teach. So, we need to be careful in choosing professional educators by knowing their characteristics.

First, professional educators must have known what they will teach well. Why is it so important? That’s because they will share their knowledge to others that if they share something wrong they can get sin as well as they will be like virus that corrupt people especially the next generations of a country that in their hand the future of a country stay.

Second, as professional educators, they must be open-minded people. It means professional educators will be willing to accept student”s opinion and  never be sensitive people who can be angry to their students that sometimes have high critical thinking in the class. On the contrary, professional educator should teach and guide them to develop their critical thinking so that they can be successful persons. If the educators are always like this, the class will be conducive and students will enjoy their study.

Besides those characteristics, professional educators should be a true person. They have to start what they are going to teach to themselves before sharing it to others. It means they must be able to teach themselves before they teach, for instance : you must be diligent before you teach someone to be diligent, you have to be honest before you ask someone to be honest, or at least you can ask your student not to do it because you have got something bad when you did it, like wise men say “ experience is the best teacher”.

Overall, to find professional educators is not easy, because they have some characteristics that are difficult to have, such as : mastering the lesson well before teaching, being open-minded person, and being a true person. So, we are as candidate of teacher should struggle in our life and our study in order we can take many lesson and experience so that we can be professional educators.

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My comment for this essay:

  • In terms of ideas, Ihsan has arranged the ideas into good logical order of division. The thesis statement which is written in the last sentence of the introductory paragraph is clear; however, Ihsan could make the essay better by using proper Transition Signal, such as “Therefore” instead of using “So”. The use of “So” is only for informal expression.
  • The language is formal but understandable. Besides, it is supported by good grammar in the sentences. In that way, the form of the sentences is various. It can be seen through the way he uses combination between simple sentence and complex sentence.
  • In fact, the ideas are, to my mind, insightful. Keep writing, Ihsan!

Charateristics of Professional Educators


Characteristics of Professional Educators

Elsa Ninda Meifira

Nowadays, we often find educators who care about their business without thinking about their students’ desire. Most of them forget about their duty as professional educators. They only come in the classroom, watch their students present the presentation and convey a little material about the topic which has been presented by their students. In the present condition, the students do not need an educator is not professional but they need an educator who has characteristics when s/he educate them, such as consistent about what s/he has said. An educator can be called a professional educator if s/he has characteristics in front of their students and their friends. Therefore, a professional educator should have several characteristics in order to be a good example for her or his students as well as for her or his colleague.

Professional educators must be responsible persons. They are not only responsible for her or his profession but also responsible for her or his student totality. A professional educator must be responsible for her or his students’ behavior because the role of educator is to educate her or his students’ morality and mentality. Even though the role of parents and educators are the same, but in the present condition, students have more time at their school with their educators than at their house. Therefore, professional educators must be responsible for it. Besides that, a professional educator must be responsible for preparing and explaining her or his subject. Sometimes, an educator comes in the classroom, s/he makes her or his students present the presentation, and takes attendance list. After her or his students finished, s/he only reviews the material without explaining it clearly. It is not responsible because not at all of students can understand the material easily even though their friends have presented it.

A professional educator also must be open-minded. S/he knows up to date information. It purposes to add her or his students’ knowledge besides books which they have, for example an educator who teaches in isolated area. As we know, in isolated area is seldom found television so that her or his students are less getting information, especially about science. Besides that, if her or his students ask something matter that they find in internet, books or television of education programs which still relate to their subject, the educators must answer it. For answering and explaining the question from her or his students, it is needed for educators to add and improve their knowledge through many ways, such as reading the article, searching internet or hunting the best book because educators is also source of science for her or his students to explain something matter. Other characteristics of professional educators are consistent persons. Several educators do not have this. In our reality life, we often find educators who have made regulation but after that s/he breaks what s/he has made and s/he does not do the regulation as good as s/he can. This situation will cause bad effect for student and educator itself. Students will assume what the regulation is made for if it will be broken. It means that the viewpoint of students for their educators will be negative thinking because before educator makes regulation, s/he must be consistent to do it as students do. If educators have done it, s/he can persuade her or his students to obey the regulation.

The other characteristics of professional educators are having wisdom and principle. Although the wisdom and principle come from inside someone self and not all of persons have it, but if person has involved herself or himself in education field, s/he must have a wisdom and principle to make students to be a wise man and having principle too. Between wisdom and principle are related. An educator will be a wise man if s/he has a strong principle. A wisdom and principle are needed to various things, such as in taking decision and solving the students’ problems. If there are several students face studying problems and they often get bad mark, wisdom of educators in the cases are needed. They must give advice and solution for their students in order to the students can get good mark. The educator can also do the extra lesson for her or his students. All of the actions of the educators are done because the educators have a strong principle to make their students to be intelligent persons.

Therefore, the professional educators must have characteristics. These characteristics will make them to be perfect and professional in educating their students. Indirectly, those characteristics will make themselves to be respected by any one. Responsibility to be a professional educator is very difficult things but it is the respectable for educators. Characteristic of the professional educator is very important to create students who have knowledge, intelligent and responsibility for themselves and the others people.

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My comment for this essay:

  • The ideas are organized properly, started from Thesis Statement until the Concluding Paragraph; however, thesis statement should have been better if only Elsa mentioned the list of the characteristics into the thesis statement, which means you mention the characteristics earlier, so that the readers know what your essay will mostly talk and present about to them.
  • The language that you use is understandable despite some small grammar mistakes are found in the essay. The good thing of this essay is that you have many content words which help your essay flow academically. Besides, the way you choose the words is, in a general point of view, precise and interesting.

Any other comments and feedbacks are welcome for this post.

Argumentative Essay and the Example


Argumentative Essay—Focus: Descriptive Arguments

The Argumentative Essay

 

è   The writing strategy classified as argument involves persuading an audience to agree with you on a controversial issue.

 

Guideliness for writing an argument essay:

  1. Choose a controversial subject (Facts, Preferences, Beliefs, Impossibilities, Opinions)
  2. Asses your audience
  3. Focus subject with a reasonable claim
  4. Use a variety of reliable, current, audience-appropriate evidence
  5. Order of argument:
  • Claim à Opposition à Evidence
  • Premise à Opposition à Claim
  1. Use Cue words to advance arguments:

v  Phrases that signal that the writer is acknowledging the other side:

è  my opponents, the opposition believes, while many people think, there are some who say, it is often thought that, in all fairness

v  Phrases that signal that the writer is being fair or attempting to put some limits on the claims made:

è apparently, frequently, appears, most of the time, may, might, on several occassions.

  1. Include appropriate, fair-minded appeals:
    1. Logical appeals
    2. Emotional appeals
    3. Ethical appeals
  2. Avoid logical fallacies

 

References

  • Anderson, Marilyn. Keys to Successful Writing – Unlocking the Writer Within. New York; Longman, 2001.

 

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Example of an Argumentative Essay

 

Lets’ Mix It Up

 

Written by: Brian Villapudua

            Immigration is a touchy subject today and few people of this country are willing to stick their neeks out and take a stand on one side or the other. Either way they look at this muffled debate is bound to raise many questions. Let’s take, for example, those who side with the anti-immigrationists. They argue that immigration puts a greater stress on the taxpayers to support immigrants. Anti-immigrationists say immigrants are taking jobs away from U.S. nationals and raising rents, and that too many immigrants are entering too fast to assimilate into “American” culture. However, these people appear to have made rash judgments about the issues when making such arguments, which seem to stem from xenophobic prejudices. Some of us don’t like to deal with things that are unfamiliar to us, but immigrants are an invaluable resource to this great nation, which was created by immigrants. Thus, we should strive to increase the number of legal immigrants allowed into our country.

One argument anti-immigrationists make is that the taxpayers are burdened by the extra expenses for health, welfare, and other noneducational services that are placed on the system by immigrants. But are immigrants really burdening this country? George Borjas, an economics professor at the University of California at San Diego, dicovered that even though immigrants receive more in government benefits than they pay in taxes, they actually produce a net gain for the U.S. economy of about four billion dollars a year.

What about immigrants taking away our jobs? This is another question asked by anti-immigrationists. In actuality, the jobs that immigrants accept are usually low-paying ones in restaurants, households, agriculture, and in the manufacturing industry, Dr. Lerry Bedard, a hospital board member in a wealthy community, explains, “We want them [the immigrants] to clean our houses, rake our leaves, take care of our children, do the scut work of life.

Although some argue that immigrants, both illegal or legal, are destroying the prosperity of this country, they cannot totally blame immigrants for the problems that the U.S. is now facing. Part of the problem is the poor service provided by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalisation Services, known as the INS. Currently, the individual offices of the INS do not have a standardized operation; instead each office operates as it deems best. In addition, some INS employees have been exerting their prejudies on certain ethnic groups, obviously making it more difficult for some to get through the system than for others. Overhauling the INS to provide better, more efficient service for all immigrants would help stop the influx of illegals by increasing the number of legal immigrants into the country. Also, since immigrants get tired of complicated red tape, getting rid of unnecessary forms could lessen the bureucratic resistance that affects many immigrants.

            We as U.S. citizens should remember that immigrants provide this country with an invaluable source of labor as well as help the economy through the consumption of goods. If the U.S. is to stop legal immigrants from entering, we are going to lose a part of our country’s heritage—the open arms we once stretched out to welcome foreigners during the formative years of our nation.

The above writing is taken from Anderson, 2001: 280-281.

Genre of Essay: Exposition


Genre of Essay: Exposition

Introduction

 

Writing an expository essay needs specific understanding of what an exposition is. This kind of essay is usually written when someone wants to give a specific argument or influence readers to the topic that s/he believed to be right.

 

The Expository Essay

 

According to Pardiyono (2007: 215):

Exposition adalah jenis teks yang tepat untuk (1) berargumen bahwa something is the case (analytical exposition), (2) berargumen bahwa something should be or ought to be (hortatory exposition). Analytical exposition lebih mirip dengan descriptive arguments, sedangkan hortatory exposition lebih mirip dengan suggestive arguments. Key words untuk jenis teks ini adalah “What do you think” OR “Do you want to argue?”

 

References

 

Pardiyono. Teaching Genre-based Writing: Metode Mengajar Writing Berbasis Genre Secara Efektif. Yogyakarta; ANDI, 2007.

 

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Example of an Expository Essay

The following writing sample is taken from Pardiyono, 2007: 221

 

Increases in the prices of fuels has resulted in the ‘social disaster’ although it is rationally planned to improve the social welfare of the people.  

Thesis: containing topic and brief statement of the writer’s position related to the topic

 

 

Increases in prices of fuels results in the increase in the cost of transport. Transportation is the core of economic development and safety. The more expensive cost of transport will surely result in in the more expenses to pay by the suppliers or distributors. This condisition will result in the more expensive products to sell people as to compensate the cost spent on the transport.

 

Arguments that describe the reality according to the writer’s opinion
 

Increase in prices of fuels results in the increase of prices in many consumed-daily living products, such as food and beverage products, healthy and beauty products, clothing products, products for schooling, etc. This negative impact is unavoidable because the production of those products will certainly cost more.

 

 

The more expensive cost of living, which is not accompanied by the increase in income of the people, will result in the ‘imbalanced life’, and this means ‘disaster’. More people begin to decrease their expenses, more children cannot go to schools, and more companies begin to close down the production activities, as people begin to lose their buying power.

 

 

Briefly, increases in the price of fuels has resulted in the more expensive cost of daily living needs, which possibly leads to ‘social disaster’.

 

Writer’s reiteration or restatement related to the thesis