professor has different expectations; they're all crazy!
Some Students' Reasoning: "Within my major, my professors
want us to analyze our data and relate it to class discussions.
Yet in another class last semester, the instructor wanted only
the research information and no opinion added in our term papers."
Some Professors' Reply: Of course, there are various expectations
for writing among disciplines due to differences in course levels
as well as theoretical assumptions.
Teach the conflict explicitly. As Gerald Graff argues, "Academic
institutions already are teaching the conflicts every time a student
goes from one course or department to another, but they are doing
it badly" (Beyond the Culture Wars 12).
Expectations need to be made clear, such as when Laura Pence
in Chemistry stipulates: "The procedure section [of a lab
report] should be a detailed description of . . . . your experience
in the laboratory (. . . always written in the past tense and
the third- person passive voice." Then she explains the reasons
for the use of the past tense, the third-person, and the passive
Imagine if a contradictory expectation was discussed, such as
the use of the present tense for an analysis of an art object
and a literary text. Then student will understand that these differences
are due to reasonable conventions, not arbitrary rules. Another
useful example: MLA vs. APA documentation.
Seek connections among students' diverse writing assignments.
See the Connections: RLC & Other
MINIMUM CLASS TIME: 15-30 minutes