Avoid Padding

The Best Way to Start an Academic Paper

Both of the following writing samples demonstrate effective use of grammar, punctuation, and other surface-level matters. Which version does a better job introducing an argument? Version 1: The Best Way to Start an Academic Paper In universities across the country, students start papers in different ways. Some papers start with a statement about life or some abstract quality like truth or justice. Others start with a striking quotation from notable…

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Forgive and Remember: How a Good Boss Responds to Mistakes

I’m thinking about risk. When my tween decided to try out for a local professional production of Annie, she told me she’d feel less nervous if I auditioned along with her. I found myself muddling through a dance routine, alongside teenagers who have been taking ballet and tap since they were 4. It’s humbling to find myself standing on the wrong foot, or singing the wrong note. I’m a better…

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Want a tech job? Study this. Advice from Mozilla, Reddit, Tumblr and more

Students often say they hate group work. I don’t attach a huge amount of points to group work, but I do ask them to collaborate on various projects. Learning how to deal with a team member who isn’t pulling his or her weight, or how to work with a take-charge person who tries to shut out less assertive group members, is a valuable life skill. Critical thinking, self-driven progress in…

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Confuse Students to Help Them Learn

Confusing sometimes helps cats, so why not students? I’m afraid your cat badly needs to be confused. Confusion is a powerful force in education. It can send students reeling toward boredom and complacency. But being confused can also prompt students to work through impasses and arrive at a more nuanced understanding of the world. “Common wisdom holds that confusion should be avoided during learning and rapidly resolved if and when…

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Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Untrained teachers. Damage-prone machines. OS bogged down with ineffective security software. The whole town clogged the school’s WiFi. What an expensive disaster! “There is no more determined hacker, so to speak, than a 12-year-old who has a computer,” said Crocamo. All this security software also bogged down the computers. Teachers complained it took 20 minutes for them to boot up, only to crash afterwards. Often, there was too little memory…

Academic Argument: Evidence-based Defense of a Non-obvious Position

That’s not an argument. (Yes it is.)

I spent some time this afternoon sifting through lecture notes to create a new handout: Academic Argument: Evidence-based Defense of a Non-obvious Position In everyday language, we may use the word “argument” to mean very different things. In the living room, siblings Charles and Petra argue about what movie to watch. The two groups of protestors chanted slogans and waved signs, arguing about abortion. The prosecutor argued that Wilson was at the scene of the crime, while the defense argued that Wilson…