Essay 1 Prompt: Read Carefully!

Introduction

We began our journey with “language” this semester with a couple short articles about Growth Mindset and a writing assignment targeting core academic literacy skills. College-level reading and writing can be intimidating for students because it is seen as difficult, an exclusive club to which not many people are invited. However, I would argue that once students understand the “moves,” or common practices, in academic writing, they can be successful scholars.

With this assignment, we introduce the foundational idea that academic writing is a “conversation” between scholars. In other words, intellectual writing is almost always produced in response to other texts, and does not exist as personal responses to random topics. Writing is a social, ongoing, and conversational act.

Purpose

The purpose of this assignment is to:

  1. Read and respond to a college-level text.
  2. Compose college-level writing.
  3. Produce an academic summary of an article.
  4. Respond to a topic with an original argument.

Goals

1. Use active/critical reading strategies to produce accurate, concise summaries of college level/academic texts.

2. Synthesize researched material from multiple texts to create and support an argument in response to a prompt. Draw direct evidence from texts in support of claims and analyze how that evidence supports the claim.

3. Utilize the various phases in the writing process—prewriting, writing revision, and proofreading—to produce clear, articulate, well-supported, well-organized essays.

4. Avoid plagiarism by properly citing quoted, summarized, and paraphrased material using MLA format.

Texts

  • Dweck, Carol. “Brainology.” National Association of Independent Schools.
  • Hilton, Adriel. “Scholar Calls Growth Mindset a ‘Cancerous’ Idea, In Isolation.” Nov 16, 2017.
  • Kohn, Alfie. “The Perils of ‘Growth Mindset’ Education: Why we’re trying to fix our kids when we should be fixing the system.” 16 August 2015.

Task

Compose an essay, between 900-1200 words in length (about 4 pages NOT counting the Works Cited page), which answers the following question:

Is the idea of growth mindset the most effective/important way to improve our education system and student success?

More Specifically:

  • Your essay must include your argument about growth mindset. You can argue that growth mindset is the most important factor in improving student success (taking Dweck’s side) or you can argue that there are other factors that are more important than growth mindset (taking from either Hilton or Kohn). That means you need a thesis that states your answer to the above question and topic sentences that give reasons for your answer. You also need support for your argument in the form of cited material and personal experience.
    • Your thesis may look something like this:
      • “The idea of growth mindset is the most important aspect of improving our education system because….(3 reasons you think so). OR
      • “The idea of growth mindset is not the most important aspect of improving our education system because we need to consider….. (think of what you find more important, probably from the Hilton and Kohn articles).
    • You are required to cite both personal experience and the texts we discussed. When citing the texts, make sure to follow the Incorporating Quotes in Research handout.
    • Your body paragraphs should be formatted as PIEIE paragraphs. Your P should be a topic sentence (reason) in your own words, your I should be personal examples or quotes from the articles and your E should be explanations/analysis that connect back to the thesis.
    • NOTE: Since you are citing the article, and possibly your own sources, don’t forget your Works Cited page.
 
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