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On Writing Smashing Student Responses

As with your reading responses, your student responses should focus on an aspect of the text that you find interesting or important. But unlike your reading responses, your student responses should attempt to answer a question posted to the listserv or raised in class that you thought was particularly provocative. Rather than choosing a "factual" question (say, about what happened in the novel or tale) and "clearing things up," try answering an "interpretive" or "evaluative" question, one that requires you to look at the text in a new light and figure things out that may well be ambiguous. Think of your student responses as practice at generating answers to difficult questions. That way, people who ask difficult questions will feel good and you'll be better prepared for your critical response papers and your final essay. Better to focus on a challenging question that has no clear "right" answer than to play it safe the entire semester and only respond to easy questions.


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EN 209: Novels and Tales, Fall 1998
Last modified: 12/2/98, 5:13 pm