“Analysis Must Show Thought”

This post is me collecting my thoughts in preparation for the #Engchat discussion I will be helping out with on Monday, 2/13. We will we talking about teaching analysis skills — and not because I am an expert on the topic. Because, in looking for resources and suggestions, I browsed the Engchat vaults, and couldn’t find any chats around this theme.

My awesome #ux students do some analysis & synthesis on literary interactions

What I have noticed in my class is that analysis is something I tell kids to do a lot, but don’t necessary explain. Here’s some examples of what I say, usually to help with analysis in writing:

“Analysis comes after the context and the quote in your body paragraphs. And it should be the biggest part of each paragraph.”

(What, like a big cut of meat? That I can put on the scale for a grade?)

“Analysis should always justify your example, and explain how it relates to your thesis.”

“Don’t summarize, analyze.”

“You analysis should explain the how or the why behind something, not just take a position on a topic.”

What it all seems to boil down to, though, I stole from fellow SLA teacher Matt Kay:

“Analysis must show thought.”

Are you thinking? Are you thinking? Are you thinking?

(Quick, where’s my think-o-meter?)

So I’m interested in exploring all the little tips and tricks that can help massage students’ thinking. But most of all I am asking myself — how do we create a culture where that great analysis can happen in the first place?

Creative Commons photo via Flickr.

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