English 1101 paper 2

Read carefully, more than once, before starting your essay.

Choose one of the following options and respond in 750-1100 words (in the body of the essay, excluding headers, name, date, title, works cited entries, etc.). Raise a central question at the end of your introduction that the rest of the paper strives to answer, especially in its topic sentences.

Format the paper in MLA style, following the simple stuff. Also follow MLA documentation of sources as on the quotations page. All options require quotations, so a works cited page is necessary.

I neither expect nor encourage you to use any sources beyond those assigned as readings for this class. Understand that if you bring in quotes from web sources, you will still need to document citations correctly according to the quotations page, but they will not count towards assignment quotation requirements.

I encourage you to seek my help with your paper outside of class. I cannot respond to whole drafts through email, but I will be glad to go over your paper from start to finish with you in person or via videoconference before you turn it in. If my office hours don't mesh with your schedule, let me know and we'll make arrangements for other times. 

Paper proposals: Before you begin writing the essay, construct a topic sentence outline just as we have done in exercises and for the first paper: begin the outline with the literal question your paper addresses, then give full topic sentences that answer the question directly for each primary point in your paper (i.e. for each body paragraph), just as they will appear in the essay itself, and conclude the outline with the paper's overall thesis, answering the central question directly and combining your essential points from the various topic sentences. See sample topic sentence outlines on my writing tips page and on the paper proposal assignment page.

Works cited info: For bibliographic information on any readings handouts, such as "Order in the Classroom," "Japanese Education," etc., see the referring pages from our schedule of readings and assignments (the pages from which you loaded the Adobe PDF files).

1) Identify significant flaws or weaknesses in American public education (K-12) and make thoughtful suggestions for improvement in each area. Include at least three quotations from the class readings on education to support your views.

Note that this option does not necessarily call for argumentation—you can raise a question in the introduction and then present only positive, direct answers that you agree with. In other words, an opposing viewpoint is not required with this option.

2) Argue for or against Paul Goodman's proposal to abolish grading at the college level. If you agree with Goodman, be wary of simply restating his argument—argue for Goodman's ideas, but concentrate primarily on explaining why you agree with them. Quote Goodman's article at least three times: you might also quote Diane Ravitch's article, "In Defense of Testing," and/or Joy Alonso's "Two cheers for Examination," but you are not required to do so.

3) What qualities make a teacher effective—that is, what makes a good teacher? This option does require argumentation, so in order to adhere to the persuasive format, you will need to view this question as a two-sided issue: consider as the opposing argument some quality or qualities others think important to effective teaching but that you see as less viable than those you argue for. Include at least four quotations from any of our readings on education.


blue bullet Make every topic sentence answer the central question directly.
blue bullet Introduce all quotes: see nugget 3.
blue bullet Sweat the details: use the Golden Rules, Nuggets, Simple Stuff, and Quotations pages and proofread carefully.
blue bullet Offer concrete evidence (quotes) in support of each of your major assertions.
blue bullet See me in the office or email if you have questions or problems. 

Use the Writing Center! I encourage you to see tutors for help with your papers at the Writing Center. We have well-trained, qualified tutors who can give you plenty of one-on-one attention with any aspect of the writing process. Be sure to take a copy of this assignment with you to any tutoring session, or show your tutor this assignment page on the web.