As a Pre-Writing and Organizational Technique
» Prewriting by questioning is a five-step process which allows you to:
- recognize the richness and diversity of your subject (exploration);
- gather as much information as possible about this aspect (discovery);
- make some sense out of the body of information you've assembled (classification);
- determine what you want to say to the reader, and the order in which you want to say it (selecting and ordering).
» Exploration begins with predictable and basic questions. Topic: teachers.
- What makes a good teacher?
- What makes a bad teacher?
- What do I dislike most of all in teachers?
- What do I like most of all in teachers?
- What do students think of teachers?
- How many students admire their teachers?
» Discovery occurs when the student answers the questions during brainstorming:
- I dislike teachers who are unprepared for their classes.
- I dislike teachers who don't know their subjects.
- Some teachers can't communicate in sign language.
- Some teachers sign so fast that you can't take notes.
- I dislike disorganized teachers, for all you get is a big jumble.
- Some teachers are closed-minded; they don't accept points of view different from their own.
- I dislike teachers who are aloof and distant; they seem detached from their students.
- I dislike teachers who have "pets," who show favoritism by giving certain students special consideration and privileges.
- Some teachers let their students walk all over them and don't maintain any order or discipline in the classroom, so nobody can learn anything.
» The classification stage is an important step in analysis. The student classifies the major characteristics of his statements about teachers.
In the selecting and ordering stage, the student limits his/her discussion to two or three promising categories [personality, and closed-minded] and orders these findings into outline form or working plan, adding details to flesh in the general assertions:
- I dislike teachers who are closed-minded.
- I dislike teachers who have bad personalities.
- Some teachers are closed minded.
- They don't accept points of view different from their own.
- They don't allow free discussion of ideas in the classroom.
- They present only one side of an issue.
- Some teachers may have bad personalities.
- Such a teacher seems detached from his students
- It's hard to like him or to work for him because you feel he doesn't care about you as a person . . .
Source: Adapted for English Works! 1997 from Ray Kytle, Prewriting: Strategies for Exploration and Discovery (New York: Random House, 1972), pp. 59-63.